The ECJ has confirmed that, when determining whether collective consultation obligations are triggered, what is relevant is the number of redundancies within a particular ‘establishment’. It held that an establishment is “the entity to which the workers made redundant are assigned to carry out their duties”.

It also held that the UK government was entitled to enact legislation giving effect to the directive that is triggered only if the necessary 20 or more redundancies occur at a particular establishment; the directive does not require the number of redundancies to be counted on an aggregated basis.

This hugely important ECJ decision will be welcome news for employers, especially those with more than one site, because it confirms that the requirement to consult with unions or staff representatives when proposing 20 or more redundancies within a 90 day period will only apply where the redundancies are to take place at a particular “establishment”. What amounts, in any particular case, to the relevant ‘establishment’ will be a matter for the UK courts to determine.

This decision makes it far less likely that businesses will be caught by legislation imposing additional costs and burdens, as well as the risk of punitive ‘protective awards’. However, it also means that what counts as the relevant establishment is likely to become a disputed issue in many tribunal cases.

For our previous coverage of this case please click here.

If you would like to discuss what this case means for you, please contact Louise McCartney or your usual BWB contact.

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Louise McCartney

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Posted on 30/04/2015 in Legal Updates

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