Collective Redundancy Consultation: European Court Judgment is Good News for UK Employers


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We reported recently on the Advocate General’s opinion in the Woolworths collective redundancy case (see link here). At the time, we were still awaiting the final decision of the European Court. That decision has now been delivered and it brings good news for any employers with operations across multiple offices and sites in the United Kingdom.

The European Court has confirmed that the trigger for collective redundancy consultation is a situation where, within a 90 day period, an employer proposes to make 20 or more employees redundant at one establishment, as opposed to anywhere within its UK business, as had been suggested by the UK Employment Appeal Tribunal.

The Court’s decision therefore narrows the instances in which employers will be required to collectively consult about proposed redundancies in the United Kingdom. The focus will now return to how many redundancies are proposed at each establishment within the UK business over the 90 day period. Whether or not a particular site or office qualifies as an establishment for collective redundancy purposes will be determined by the familiar tests used previously.