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Unit liability for employment offers
Where do diggers stand in situations where they have been told by a unit that there is work and that the unit is just waiting on a start date?

HAve just finished one job ready to start a new local job only to be informed by a former collegue who now works for said unit that the work had been delayed. I was then left without work and unable to sign on as i had voluntarily left my previous employment.

Have been hanging around waiting only to be informed that the job is no longer happening so I am left high and dry!! I am not the only person in this situation as I know of two others who have been waiting for this job only to exhaust the lat of their previuos jobs wages and have nothing left to tide them over.

How can a company take no responcability for this! Just an email apology saying will keep us on record if anything else comes up!

Have been in a similar situation before as many jobs are offered on the when they happen condition. How can a digger protect themselves beyond the trust no-one approach as units do not generally hand out contracts until you start work?

Any thoughts?
Been thre a few times in my life too... It is crap... it seems unfair... but you ain't got a leg to stand on

unless a contract or firm offer (and start date has been offered)

Also think of the company... who may indeed be pretty pisssed off themselves and been relying on that work to start... (now I have also been in that situation... I thought the job would start on the xxth but then client delays and planning meant that it was 3 months late... completely screwed the finances.. as I had budgeted for that... AND had turned down a contract because I thought I would have a fully commited team.. !! ) As well as that I had to suffer diggers asking why the job I had promised was not happening.. I felt terrible (as i knew what it feels like) but I was at least able to tell everyone why... and yes... the job did start... and yes these people all got employed..

As ever... if you want me to find out more.... offlist please

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
In OZ there is such a thing a 'breach of verbal contract'. Overthere it means that they are liable as if it had been a a written contract. No idea as to if same applies under UK law. As there is more than one of you in this situation it would seem that there would be little problem in proving this. It just comes down to whether a verbal contract carries the same weight in this country. Contacting (pestering hard!) the job centre may provide info on where you stand legally.
My understanding is that in Scotland, a verbal contract is binding (although it might be hard to prove), whereas in England a contract requires a signature.

The lesson to be learned is - don't give up your previous job until you have a written job offer with a start date.


to let, fully furnished
As I understand it, in England a contract is a contract whether verbal or written. Its still the ability to prove it that is the difficulty.
That is also my understanding from Legal Studies many years ago(although as the man said, a verbal contract is not worth the paper it's written on).

Of course there must be a consideration, which would presumably be the wages (but does the contract exist before the consideration is coughed up? Probably - for example if a written contract is posted it exists from the moment of posting, rather quaintly). And it must be reasonable and legal.

We owe the dead nothing but the truth.
In many respects this is a difficult issue:-

from a client point of view there are things outside of your control such as the planning system which means that you cannot predict when precisely a project can start.

Even when you have a permission there are still the specs to be approved by the curator - they may be on holiday for three weeks.

Other things may also crop up like a H&S issue that has to be sorted.

If a demolition contractor is involved it is very difficult to predict when they will finish.

Similarly I often have contractors asking me what I have coming up in the future and when.

For the contractor - it is a major juggling act matching people with work.

So what as a contractor do you tell the staff?

Do you tell that the big job is around the corner?
Do you tell them that there is no certainty that there will be any work at the end of the month?
Do you make conditional job offers with a provisional start date.

There is also the reverse situation when a project is brought forward.


I do understand that these situations prove problematic for all concerned and a put back start date / cancelled job can also be difficult for a unit but in answer to the questions posed i think it is unfair to lead people to believe they have a job until you have conformation yourself.

Most of usare employed on a series of short term contracts and have to line work up and know when to jump ship and when to stay put. Without an accurate picture of what is happening we are unable to make an informed decision - an when the screw ups are beyond the control of the unit the unit should remember the knock on effect it has on the lives of others.

How are we to know when and when not to believe what we take to be a genuine offer and why should we bear the brunt of these miscalculations?

It is usually impossible to get units to commit in writing as they know full well the implications of this and as diggers it is just the normal way of things - you get a contract given to you either on your first day of work, if your very lucky the week before or as seems more usual you are ever given a contract!

They know we need the work and that often the work e are hanging on for is local so we cannot afford to kick up a fuss- just grit our teeth, bend over nd get shafted - AGAIN!

Its about time units stoped using this ridiculous practice and gave us credit for having a life outside work, bills to pay and families to support! SadSadSadSad
I do sympathise - but there are inherent difficulties in the situation.

In a sense the only safe bet for a employer is to only even discuss a job when it is all confirmed otherwise miss understandings will occur. The net result will be that a site worker will have no idea that a job is going to be available until shortly before the contract starts. It will however end the difficulty of leaving a job only to find that the new one has not started.

Myself I would prefer to know that I would have a job shortly rather being kept totally in the dark.

I think this is all part of the difficulties that arise from the fact that archaeology has become more and more casual and why I think that a temping agency could be a good thing. We discussed this on BAJR this time last year.

Peter Wardle
But thats the point - you wouldnt know that you had a job shortly you would be told you had a job shortly which may or may not exist!

I have no problem with being told that there is the likelyhood of work coming up or that a job is at such and such a stage but there is a chance of further employment. I just believe that i have the right to make an informed decision as to what action i take and in order to do this i need the facts as they stand.

A temping agency would not solve this problem - and as wages are low enough as it is without having a fat cat creaming them off it offers no benefits! What ever happened to that acency anyway? Did anybody get a job through them - no one ive ever met so obviously not such a great idea afer all.

Its not that i dont understand that its difficult for the units - i do buti am also fully aware thats it is in thier best interests to keep a pool of workers hanging on as long as possible incase work comes up and its not fair to mislead these people.

If you think you may have work say "i think we MAY have work" not "we have work" thats all i ask!


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