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Woolworths – a pick ‘n’ mix approach

On 5 February the Advocate General delivered his hotly anticipated opinion in what has become commonly known as the “Woolworths” case.

Regular readers of our bulletin will be aware that this case deals with the interpretation of “at one establishment” for collective consultation purposes which the EAT in Woolworths suggested should include all sites/premises within an organisation.

However, the Advocate General’s opinion concluded that the UK should be entitled to retain its long held view that the correct trigger for collective consultation for redundancy purposes will be where 20 or more redundancies are proposed in a 90 day period at one establishment (or site) within an organisation.

The Advocate General’s opinion is not yet binding and the EAT’s decision in Woolworths still stands until the ECJ decide on the matter later this year. In the meantime, it would be prudent for employers to adopt a collective redundancy process where 20 or more dismissals are proposed within a 90 day period regardless of where the employees are based.

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