European ruling dismisses changes to collective redundancies

A collective sigh of relief has been heard this week as a legal ruling which would have caused significant and onerous changes to the redundancy process has been overturned by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The case arises from when thousands of shop workers were made redundant when Woolworths plc and Ethel Austin went into liquidation and the stores where they worked closed down. Those that were members of the trade union (USDAW) claimed protective awards on the basis of the absence of collective consultation prior to the dismissal. An employer is required to collectively consult where there are 20 or more redundancy dismissals at one establishment within a 90-day period.

The Employment Tribunal ruled that there had been a failure to collectively consult, but only ruled in favour of those working in shops where 20 or more were dismissed. The union then appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) who allowed the appeal. It stated that the UK law did not comply with the European Collective Redundancies Directive and the words “at one establishment” should be disregarded. It should be interpreted that a consultation is required as soon as at least 20 employees are to be made redundant within 90 days, regardless of where they work.

The Court of Appeal asked the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to review the case, which had in effect overturned UK collective redundancy consultation law and practice. THE CJEU disagreed with the EAT decision and confirmed that the original tribunal ruling was correct that collective consultation is required when 20 employees are to be made redundant at one establishment, rather than across the employer as a whole, irrespective of location.

Had CJEU not come to the conclusion it did, employees would find themselves facing more costly redundancies which would have been particularly challenging for large, multi-site employers.  

Back to News Listing

Have us contact you

Fill in your details below and one of our friendly experts will be in touch to discuss your requirements.

We will process your data in accordance with our Privacy Policy. You may withdraw this consent at any time by updating your preferences.  We make this easy for you by placing a link to your preferences in the footer of every email we send you.

Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace
Park City Call Back

We will respond to your call back within 24 hours during business working hours

Please enter your name
Ask a question and get FREE advice

Juliet Price is the Managing Director here at Park City and has extensive, specialist knowledge in HR, Health & Safety and staff development. Enter your question below and we'll be back in touch soon with an answer!

Please enter your name
Please enter your telephone number
Please enter your question
Discover how your people truly feel

Dig deeper into underlying issues, spot opportunities, take action and track progress. Listen , review and take action with real-time reports. Download information about the WeThrive product toolbox, our recommended employee engagement solution.

Please enter your first name
Please enter your surname
Please enter your company name
Please enter your email address
Please enter your telephone number