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Woolworths’ case on collective redundancy – BIS granted permission to appeal

Print publication

27/09/2013

We reported on the case of USDAW v Ethel Austin Ltd (in administration) and another case UKEAT/0547/12; 0548/12 (otherwise known as the ‘Woolworths case’) in our recent business insight. The case was a landmark decision on collective redundancy law holding that the words ‘at one establishment’ should be totally excised from the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA) so that, once it is proposed that 20 or more employees in a single business are to be made redundant, their location is entirely irrelevant and the obligation to collectively consult with all affected employees will be triggered regardless.

The Government has now been granted permission to appeal this decision to the Court of Appeal although it seems likely that the appeal will be stayed pending the outcome of a referral to the European Court of Justice in a Northern Ireland Industrial Tribunal case concerning the same issue (i.e. the meaning of ‘establishment’). This is undoubtedly ‘one to watch’ given the huge implications for collective redundancy law and we will report on further developments as soon as they are known.

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