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at last, the ECJ provides clarity on redundancy and collective consultation

30 April 2015

For a long time the law was simple: an employer had to engage in collective consultations when it planned to make 20 or more people redundant at one establishment within a 90-day period. An ‘establishment’ meant a single site or workplace.

Then came the EAT’s decision in USDAW v Woolworths and suddenly things were, well, not so simple.

The EAT thought ‘establishment’ meant an employer’s entire business. Did this mean an employer would have to collectively consult whenever it planned 20 or more redundancies within 90 days – even if those redundancies were spread across multiple sites?

Employers can now breathe a sigh of relief. The ECJ has said ‘establishment’ means a single site after all.

Or, in the language of the European judges, “where an undertaking comprises several entities, it is the entity to which the workers made redundant are assigned to carry out their duties that constitutes the ‘establishment’”. As I said – simple!

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