The long awaited decision from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) regarding what has become known as the “Woolworths” case regarding collective redundancies, has been given.
The decision supports Woolworths approach that an establishment for the purposes of collective redundancy consultation referred to individual workplaces of the affected employees and not the number of employees being made redundant in total by the employer in its entirety.
We expected this decision and many employers will breathe a huge sigh of relief as it reverses the previous decision of the UK Employment Appeals Tribunal, which required that employers who were considering making more than 20 redundancies in a 90 day period to engage in “collective” consultation even if the employees were based at different locations.
I’m sure it is of little comfort to Woolworths that they were correct in its approach. In simple terms if an employer is considering making more than 20 redundancies in a 90 period they will only have to engage in collective consultation at locations where there are 20 or more affected employees.