The previous employer of the appellant teachers had not been bound by a previous collective agreement and therefore their employer after a transfer protected by the Acquired Rights Directive was also not bound to incorporate that collective agreement into the contracts of employment.
Appeal by three teachers from an employment tribunal's dismissal of their claim against the respondent employer ('the College') for a declaration under s.11 Employment Rights Act 1996. The College was a statutory corporation established under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 and the body responsible for managing and maintaining a college of further and higher education. Before 1 April 1993 the College had been maintained by the local authority. On that date a transfer, to which the Council Directive 77/187/EEC (commonly known as the "Acquired Rights Directive") applied, occurred between the local authority and the College and the appellants' jobs transferred to the College. Before the transfer the appellants' contracts of employment had expressly incorporated the terms of a collective agreement known as the "Silver Book". After the transfer the appellants continued to work under their previous contracts of employment. After that they all entered into new fixed term contracts which also incorporated the Silver Book terms. Before the expiry of those fixed term contracts the appellants entered into new contracts that were fundamentally different from the previous contracts and that, importantly, excluded the Silver Book terms. The appellants submitted in their appeal that: (i) the nature, extent and effect of both an "employment relationship" under Art.3, and a "collective agreement" under Art.3(2) of the Directive fell to be determined by community law; (ii) therefore the Silver Book agreement remained binding on the College unless and until it came to an end in accordance with Art.3; and (iii) Art.4(2) was wide enough to cover the situation where an employee's contract of employment was substantially varied by an employer but the employee nevertheless continued to work.
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