The EAT has considered what constitutes an ‘organised grouping of employees’ under TUPE. In this case the EAT upheld the tribunal’s decision that there was no service provision change when a contract was outsourced from one contractor to another. The facts were as follows:

  • Eddie Stobart’s (ES) Nottinghamshire depot closed in April 2009, at which point ES was providing logistics services to two clients.
  • The day and night shift employees each worked under separate contracts. The day shift workers mainly worked on the contract for Vion which was awarded to FJG Logistics Ltd (FJG).
  • ES considered that the day shift workers were assigned to the Vion contract and informed them that their employment had transferred to FJG under TUPE since there had been a service provision change.
  • The claimants were dismissed by ES and FJG refused to accept that TUPE applied.

In order for there to be an organised grouping of employees it was held that it was not sufficient that employees principally carry out the relevant activities on behalf of the client "without any deliberate planning or intent". Carrying out the activities should be the principal purpose of the ‘organised grouping’ to which the employees belong.

In other words, to fall within TUPE, employees must be organised by reference to the requirements of the particular client. The employees in this case spent the majority of their time working for a particular client, but were organised according to their shifts and not according to the requirements of that client.

Key Point - This case helps give guidance as to what constitutes an organised grouping of employees. In order for a service provision change to fall within TUPE, the employees must be organised with reference to a client’s requirements.

Eddie Stobart Limited v Moreman and others 2011