Redundancies and collective consultation – The Woolworths’ decision

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has decided on the meaning of ‘establishment’ and when collective consultation obligations are triggered.

By way of background under UK employment law collective consultation obligations are triggered when the redundancies involve 20 or more employees at a ‘single establishment’ within any 90 day period. In such cases, employers must consult on their proposals with unions or elected representatives of the affected employees.

In this case the ECJ has held that the term ‘establishment’ means the store, branch or location to which the employees were assigned and not the whole of the employer in the wider sense. It means that employers, who have a number of establishments, will not have to carry out collective consultation obligations for stores, for example, where the headcount is less than 20 employees.

So, good news for employers – particularly in retail.