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Working Under Protest – Means?

Some HCA Band 2 members may have submitted a ‘Working under Protest’ letter to their employer via their line managers. Whilst this can do no harm it should be submitted if any change is being proposed or imposed without the agreement of the employee. It is important that you understand its purpose and what other actions need to be taken alongside this letter.

______ Example Only ______

Dear Mr K,

This is to notify you that following the meeting held in (place) on (date) which was in relation to the imposition of HCA Uplift. I am notifying you that I will be Working Under Protest.

As UHP has informed me that it intends to impose changes to my Job Description (JD) without agreement or formal consultation with myself or my recognised Trade Union.

After taking advice from my Trade Union, GMB Union, I have been advised that this could amount to a Breach of Contract.

This of course does not mean that I do not wish to be uplifted to ICA Band 3 however, I do expect to receive back payment from the date I commenced the role or, if I have 2 or more years service , from 2019. This is in line with the demands recorded in the Joint Trade Union (JTU) HCA Band 2 dispute dated 28th October 2023.

I will continue to work in the way that I have been working and I will continue to consult with my Trade Union, GMB Union, who are acting on my behalf and who are party to the JTU Dispute.

Yours Sincerely

________  Example  Only _______

If you, the employee, works under protest, you continue to work under the changed terms, but make it clear that you do not agree to the change and intend to take steps to challenge it.

You should usually do this in writing on a regular basis, the first letter/email then, for example every time you get paid.

You should normally only work under protest for a short time so you can formally raise your concerns with the employer or take legal action if this does not resolve your concerns.

For example, depending on the circumstances, you could decide to make legal claims against the organisation for:

  • Damages for breach of contract at a civil court
  • ‘Unlawful deduction of wages’ at an employment tribunal, if the change affects your pay
  • discrimination, if the change means your are treated unfairly in relation to certain ‘protected characteristics’ under the law

If an imposed change makes an employee’s terms and conditions significantly worse than before, you might be able to claim unfair dismissal while continuing to work under the changed terms. This is a very complex claim. You should get legal advice if you’re in this situation.

If any change is imposed and after not being able to reach agreement with a recognised trade union/employer, the trade union might consider:

  • Taking industrial action – for example a strike, refusing to take part in certain activities, or a ‘work to rule’ where employees do no more than what they’re contractually required to do
  • Supporting individual employees to make claims to a court or employment tribunal