Good news for employers using fixed-term contracts

By Helen Burgess

The Court of Session has confirmed that the expiry of fixed-term contracts does not trigger the requirement to collectively consult with appropriate representatives.

Section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA) specifies that ‘where an employer is proposing to dismiss as redundant 20 or more employees… the employer shall consult about the dismissals all the persons who are appropriate representatives of any of the employees who may be affected by the proposed dismissals or may be affected by measures taken in connection with those dismissals’. When deciding whether a dismissal amounts to a redundancy dismissal, it is necessary to consider whether the dismissal is for ‘a reason not related to the individual concerned’ (section 195[1] TULRCA). If it is not, then it will be deemed to be a dismissal for redundancy for the purposes of triggering collective consultation obligations.

In University College Union v University of Sterling, the issue arose as to whether the obligations to collectively consult under TULRCA were triggered by the expiry of certain fixed-term contracts…

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