This case was brought under the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004 and involves the standard information and consultation (I&C) provisions (this is the default, statutory I&C arrangement that applies where, for example, the parties cannot reach a negotiated I&C agreement).
Mr C and Mr H complained to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) that their employer's arrangements for a ballot to elect I&C representatives were defective under the Regulations. Their employer is a global business which has a UK division. Within that division are four businesses which are each different legal employing entities. Mr C and Mr H argued for an expansive interpretation of the Regulations which would require the employer to set up one I&C arrangement across the whole of the UK division. The employer maintained that the standard I&C provisions applied to a single undertaking and, in the circumstances, the correct undertaking was one of the four businesses and no more. The CAC found for the employer, agreeing that the Regulations did not support four separate employing entities being treated as a single undertaking.
This decision provides helpful clarification for other employers with multi-entity business structures. As the CAC noted, the Regulations provide flexibility for pre-existing and negotiated I&C agreements to be voluntarily extended to include multiple undertakings. However, the standard provisions are based on a single undertaking only.