The ETU National legal team stood up for an apprentice this month whose employer tried to vary the terms of her contract of employment and lower her rates of pay.
The ETU apprentice was asked by her employer months after starting her contract to agree to change the terms and the award that it referenced. This would mean she would receive lower wages.
The apprentice was unsure what to do, so she sought the help of the ETU. We advised her not to agree to the changes because the original terms were clear in her contract, and her employer had no right to reduce them.
The employer tried to then vary the contract without her consent, but this wasn’t legal as both parties must agree to it.
The ETU was successful in protecting the rights and pay of its apprentice, and the employer agreed to retain the original terms and conditions of her employment.
This was a typical instance where employers put pressure on employees to agree to confusing changes. Apprentices can be more vulnerable to these sorts of tactics as they may have less experience with employment contracts and less understanding of their rights.
If you are asked to change your contract at work and something doesn’t seem right, make sure you contact the ETU for advice. We’re always here to help!