The need to be scrupulous when consulting over collective redundancies – in this case in the context of the closure of a coal mine – is emphasised in UK Mining Limited v NUM. In this groundbreaking decision, the EAT ruled that an employer must consult over its reasons for making redundancies where a workplace closure inevitably entails collective dismissals. Previously tribunals have interpreted the duty to consult under section 188(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 as not requiring consultation about reasons. Doubtless the EAT were affected by the fact that the company had given a false reason for the dismissals and that this affected the nature of the consultation that took place thereafter. The EAT considered that the scope of the consultation obligations should be widened to include consultation over the reasons for the dismissals where closure of a business and redundancies are inextricably linked. Employers facing closure of their business should take note to minimise the risk of expensive protective awards.
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Consultation over the reasons for redundancies
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