Collective Redundancies One Year On


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Posted on 22 Jan 2015

One year ago today the Court of Appeal referred to the European Court of Justice the question of whether UK collective redundancy rules comply with EU law.

The issue put before the European Court in the case of USDAW v Ethel Austin and others is whether the UK legislation, which only requires employers to undertake collective redundancy consultation when 20 or more redundancies are proposed at one establishment in a period of 90 days, complies with the requirements of the EC Collective Redundancies Directive.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal had ruled that UK law does not comply and that going forward references to "at one establishment" should be disregarded or ignored when calculating the number of proposed redundancies.  The Court of Appeal decided to refer the matter to the European Court which will now rule on this issue. 

The case was heard by the European Court on 20 November 2014 and the Advocate General is expected to give his opinion on 5 February 2015. We will be monitoring developments closely and will report further as soon as the Advocate General’s opinion is published.

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