Collective consultation duties not always triggered at end of fixed-term contract

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The court of session has confirmed that fixed-term employees dismissed upon expiry of their contracts were dismissed for a ‘reason relating to them as individuals’ and not on the grounds of redundancy. Therefore, the collective consultation obligations under section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act (TULRCA) did not apply to them (University College Union v The University of Stirling).

According to TULRCA 1992, where an employer is proposing to dismiss as redundant 20 or more employees at one establishment within any period of 90 days or less, this gives rise to a statutory obligation to consult appropriate representatives of the affected employees. Failure to do so can result in a protective award against the employer. For employees to be deemed to be redundant, it would require that their dismissals took effect ‘for a reason not related to the individual concerned’.

In this case, the issue arose as to whether four employees of the university on fixed-term contracts were dismissed as redundant when their contracts expired during a wider redundancy exercise…

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