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Editor's blog Thursday 20 January 2011: Other oddness in the Bill: retrospective rewriting staff / property transfer contracts

A reader emails to draw my attention to the following passage in the Bill (under para 275 Transfer schemes: supplemental on page 279)

“5. A staff transfer scheme may make provision which is the same or similar to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/246).

“6. A property transfer scheme or a staff transfer scheme may provide:
(a) for the scheme to be modified by agreement after it comes into effect, and
(b) for any such modifications to have effect from the date when the original scheme comes into effect”.

This reader comments, "I'm guessing the Trade Union lawyers will be all over this, if I read it correctly. There can be property or staff (TUPE) transfer, but the terms can then be changed and retrospectively applied afterwards. This seems contrary to employment and Human Rights laws to be (European if not UK).

I agree with this reader. That looks very odd indeed.

The absence of Explanatory Notes (EN), which should accompany any major Bill, is scarcely a big help. I understand that no date has yet been set for their release.