| Commentary

(a) 'Proposing' new terms

| Commentary

(3)     Attempts at unilateral variation

(a)     'Proposing' new terms

If the employer fails to negotiate an agreement on new terms and conditions with the workforce and there is no (valid) variation clause on which to rely, there are two ways in which that employer may try to force through the changes; both of these have always featured prominently in the managerial mind-set, but both have legal problems attached to them. The first is the tactic of the employer proceeding to 'propose' the new terms, putting the onus on to the employees to object, failure to do so being acceptance by acquiescence. If industrial realities are on the employer's side, this may work in practice but it can raise legal problems in at least two ways. The first is a potential lack of certainty. How long must elapse before deemed acquiescence by the employees? In the case of an immediately-relevant matter (eg a change of shift system), the employees must make their mind up one way or another relatively quickly, but in the case of any change which does not have immediate effect this may not be the case. In Jones v Associated Tunnelling Co Ltd [1981] IRLR 477, EAT it was said that arguments for acquiescence must be treated with caution where the effects are not immediate and there must not be unrealistic expectations on employees to object. The result may be that, if the charge only affects the employee some time later, he or she may still be

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