“Establishment” means the unit to which the employees are assigned to carry out their duties.
Employers are not required to aggregate dismissals across multiple establishments – each establishment is to be considered separately.
We wrote to you in February about the Advocate General’s (AG’s) opinion in the well‑publicised “Woolworths” case. This is a case about how employers must count the number of proposed redundancies for the purposes of triggering collective redundancy information and consultation duties. Here is the alert we previously published which explains the background to this case.
All large and multi-site employers can breathe a sigh of relief today; the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has followed the AG’s Opinion. This means that the UK legislation does comply with the EU Collective Redundancies Directive. We now know that “establishment” means the unit to which the employees are assigned to carry out their duties. Determining that unit will remain a question of fact for the Tribunal. But, crucially, employers are not required to aggregate dismissals across multiple establishments.
The CJEU has referred the case back to the Court of Appeal in the UK. We expect that the Court of Appeal will simply overturn the earlier Employment Appeal Tribunal decision and affirm that Woolworths was correct in treating each store as a separate establishment for the purposes of consultation obligations.