Collective Redundancies – meaning of “establishment”

06 March 2015

Section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 provides that where an employer is proposing to dismiss as redundant 20 or more employees ‘at one establishment’ within a period of 90 days or less it must consult about the dismissals collectively through representatives. In a significant development of pan European affect the Advocate General has given an Opinion in three similar cases, including the USDAW & anor –v- WW Realisation 1 Ltd case (often referred to as the Woolworths case) raising the same point that the concept of ‘establishment’ must be interpreted consistently throughout Europe to mean the unit to which the redundant employees are assigned to carry out their duties and not the business as a whole. It is not necessary to aggregate the dismissals at all of the employer’s establishments to ascertain whether, in the case of the UK, the employer is proposing to dismiss as redundant 20 or more employees.The Court of European Justice, which often follows the Opinion of the Advocate General, is expected to deliver its decision later this year.

By David Ludlow

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