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ECJ confirms meaning of establishment for collective redundancy consultation

Following its decision in the Woolworths/Usdaw case, the ECJ has published its judgment in Lyttle and others v Bluebird UK Bidco 2 Ltd which we highlighted in our ‘cases to look out for in 2015’ legal alert earlier this year. In Lyttle, the question a Northern Ireland tribunal posed to the ECJ, was not materially different to that in the Woolworths/Usdaw case, i.e. whether the word “establishment” in the European Collective Redundancies Directive means a sub-unit of a business or the business overall. It comes as no surprise that the ECJ followed the same logic applied in the Woolworth’s case and ruled that “establishment” means the local unit to which the redundant workers are assigned to carry out their duties. Therefore it is not contrary to EU law to require information and consultation only where there are at least 20 proposed redundancies in one particular establishment and not 20 or more across the business as a whole. The ruling confirms that Northern Irish law complies with EU law, in the same way that the Woolworths case approved the law in the rest of the UK.

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