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Award was just right – ‘Like baby bear’s porridge’

 




 


 





 

 


 

 


 



Award was
just right  – “Like baby bear’s porridge”

In Cable Realisations
Ltd v (1) GMB Northern (2) AEI Cables Ltd, the EAT held that the employer had
failed to provide relevant information to employee representatives long enough
before a TUPE transfer. The award of 3 weeks’ wages to each of the employees
affected was neither too high nor not too low. According to Judge Peter Clark,
“Like baby bear’s porridge, it was just right”.

Reg 13(2) TUPE 2006 states that information about a TUPE transfer must
be given to employee representatives long enough before a relevant transfer to
enable consultation (either voluntary or mandatory) to take place. Cable
transferred its business at Birtley to AEI on 3 September 2007. The necessary
information was given on 15 August. While in normal circumstances this may have
been sufficient time before the 3rd September, the tribunal found in this case
it was not because the factory shutdown for holiday on 17 August and 99% of the
union members would then not be at work. The tribunal awarded 3 weeks’ wages in
respect of each of the Union’s affected
members.

The EAT rejected the employer’s argument that information had been
provided in good time. Cable clearly knew that 99% of the workforce would go on
holiday two days after the information was provided. The EAT also rejected both
parties’ appeal on the remedy. The award reflected the justice of the case. It
was neither too high nor not too low. According to Judge Peter Clark, “Like
baby bear’s porridge, it was just right”. It just goes to show – the law does
have a human face after all – even though the judgment may cause ‘a bit of a
stir’.

 

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