EU sources -Minimalistic ECJ-ruling on important redundancy case -May 02, 2015

On 30 April the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave a verdict on a case for the Woolworths and Ethel Austin members of the UK trade union Usdaw. The companies failed to consult about redundancies with the workforce and their trade union. A protective award was made by a UK employment tribunal (in January 2012) and workers in stores of over 20 staff were paid compensation. However, workers in stores of less than 20 employees (1,200 former employees of Ethel Austin and 3,200 of Woolworths) were denied compensation based on a narrow interpretation of the law. In May 2013 Usdaw won a landmark legal case at the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) that should have seen those excluded staff back into the compensation scheme. The Court of Appeal decided on 21 January 2014 to refer the matter to the European Court of Justice. According to EU law an employer proposing to make collective redundancies is required to consult in advance with representatives of the affected employees and the consultation must be completed before any notices of dismissal are issued. The ECJ however, ruled in favour of the UK government. According to the ECJ the term ‘establishment’, which is not defined in the EU directive, is a term of EU law and cannot be defined by reference to the laws of the member states. The ECJ stated that, 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’.

English: https://www.usdaw.org.uk/About-Us/News/2015/April/Former-Woolworths-and …  

https://www.accountancylive.com/ecj-upholds-uk-view-woolworths-collective-redundancies-case 

For more information, please contact the editor Jan Cremers, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) cbn-aias@uva.nl or the communications officer at the ETUI, Mariya Nikolova mnikolova@etui.org. For previous issues of the Collective bargaining newsletter please visit http://www.etui.org/E-Newsletters/Collective-bargaining-newsletter. You may find further information on the ETUI at www.etui.org, and on the AIAS at www.uva-aias.net.


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