Addleshaw Goddard

UK 200 2013 position: 23

Court of Appeal refers the ‘Woolworths’ case to the CJEU

In July 2013, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) controversially held that all the employees made redundant from two insolvent retail businesses were entitled to be collectively consulted once the overall number of redundancies had reached 20 or more, regardless of where the employees worked.

In reaching this decision, the EAT decided that the words ‘at one establishment’ were to be deleted from section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRA) in order to give effect to the EU Collective Redundancies Directive (No.98/59). 

The secretary of state for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) was not represented at the EAT hearing and did not submit written representations. As the government would be responsible for the cost of the protective awards (as the retail businesses were insolvent), they elected to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal. On 22 January 2014, the Court of Appeal heard the government’s appeal and decided to refer the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ)…

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