Woolworths Case – appeal set for January 2014

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The landmark decision of the EAT in the Woolworths case [1] is due to be heard by the Court of Appeal at the end of January. Many employers will await the outcome of this appeal with keen interest given the massive implications of the EAT’s decision on the logistics and costs of collective redundancy exercises.

The impact of the decision has been potentially huge for multi-site employers engaged in collective redundancies. The effect of the decision was that employers must collectively consult with employee representatives as soon as more than 20 redundancies are proposed by one employer, regardless of the employees’ locations. It presents a logistical and practical challenge because the threshold of 20 may be reached very quickly where a handful of redundancies are being made at different and disparate sites which may not necessarily be in communication with each other.

Please refer to our Business Insight for further details of the case. We will report on the outcome of the appeal as soon as it is known.

[1] USDAW & Anr v Ethel Austin Limited (In Administration) & Ors