The employer's EWC operated under the subsidiary requirements of the Transnational Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 1999 (TICE). Under those requirements, EWCs are entitled to be informed about exceptional circumstances affecting employees' interests and to meet with management to be informed and consulted and to provide an opinion.
In 2016 the employer decided to centralise its European operations in Romania, as a result of which staff working in other countries would be made redundant. The employer notified the EWC of this in March 2017, and the EWC requested further information. Some redundancies had apparently been implemented before the EWC was notified and there were further redundancies shortly afterwards. In May the EWC indicated that it was not able to provide an opinion because the employer had not provided the requested information.
The EWC complained to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) that the employer had not complied with its information and consultation obligations in various respects. In particular, the EWC argued that an employer is not able to implement a decision at national level until an EWC has provided an opinion. The CAC rejected that complaint and the EWC appealed to the EAT.
The EAT rejected the appeal. The CAC decided that the employer had breached its information and consultation obligations in certain respects, including the fact that the arrangements it put in place to inform the EWC about the exceptional circumstances did not enable the EWC to meet with management to be informed and consulted. However, nothing in TICE obliges an employer to wait for an opinion from the EWC before implementing a decision. TICE explicitly provides that "the exceptional information and consultation meeting… shall not affect the prerogatives of the central management". Proceeding with redundancies before receiving an opinion was not a breach of TICE