Radical change of approach to collective redundancy consultation?

06 June 2013

HR practitioners know that an employer proposing to make 20 (or 100) or more redundancies at one establishment within a 90-day period is required to embark on 30 (or 45) days of collective consultation with the relevant union or employee representatives.

The obligation breaks down into three parts:


  1. the number of proposed redundancies;
  2. the single establishment; and
  3. the time frame for consultation

In one of the most radical judge-made changes to employment law in recent years, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has reportedly ruled that "single establishment" requirement is not compatible with EU law, and must be disregarded.  This means that firms planning  20 or more redundancies across a business unit will need to go through collective consultation even where the affected employees work at different sites.  The EAT's written judgment has not yet been published, so we are still waiting for confirmation of the precise analysis of which parts of a business should be taken into account when assessing whether the magic number of 20 (or 100) proposed redundancies has been reached.  We will update you as soon as the written judgment is available.


The UK and EU courts have grappled for many years with what exactly an "establishment" means, and the Government had been due to review this over the coming months.  Whether this decision changes the Government's legislative approach remains to be seen.


To discuss the implications of the decision for your business, please don't hesitate to contact me.