Employee relations

Employment tribunal – April 2013 Was the inclusion of an individual who had previously participated in trade union activities on a ‘blacklist’ prohibited? The Employment Relations Act 1990 (Blacklist) Regulations 2010 prohibit the use of a blacklist, and the refusal of employment related to a blacklist, where the motive for the list is to discriminate against an individual based on their trade union membership or activities. Facts The employee, a full-time officer of a union, was…

Employees and workers, Employee relations

Central Arbitration Committee – November 2017 To be recognised for collective bargaining, the union had to first prove the riders were workers within the statutory definition contained in s296 Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA). Facts The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) made a formal request for trade union recognition to Deliveroo on 7 November 2016. They sought to negotiate pay, hours and holiday rights with Deliveroo on behalf of the…

Recruitment and selection, Employee relations

Employment Appeal Tribunal – October 2017 Is a refusal to recruit because of previous trade union activities a refusal of employment because of trade union membership under s137(1)(a) Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (“TULRCA”)? Facts Denby, a qualified pilot, started working at the airline in November 2005. In 2008, Denby became Chairman of the Crew Council and pilot representative for two airports. He was also a member of the British Airline Pilots’ Association…

Judgement published:
Employee relations

Court of Appeal - May 2017 An employer’s court challenge to statutory union recognition over the appropriateness of the proposed collective bargaining unit failed as it was unable to show the unit would stop it from operating effectively   Lidl did not recognise a trade union for any of its UK employees. The GMB trade union applied to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) for statutory recognition to represent 273 warehouse staff at a Lidl regional distribution centre in Bridgend. The…

Judgement published:
Employee relations

Court of Appeal February 2017 This case confirms that a trade union cannot seek statutory recognition when another trade union is already recognised by an employer, and that current recognition legislation does not breach European freedom of association rights.   The two unions involved in this case were the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA - an independent trade union within the meaning of the legislation) and Boots Pharmacists Association. The PDA was trying to gain recognition by…

Judgement published:
Employee relations

Employment Tribunal – June 2016 Here a tribunal criticised an employer for completely failing to consult on nearly 3,000 redundancies and made a maximum ‘protective award’ against the company. City Link had been in financial difficulties since a change of ownership in April 2013. There was a clear turn-around plan but when it became apparent that administration was the only option, no consultation was carried out. Instead, on Christmas Day in 2014, 2,727 employees found out via the…

Judgement published:
Equality , Employee relations

Court of Appeal: February 2016 Employers have responsibilities towards trade union members among its workforce and in this case an employer favouring a recognised union by not intervening in an inter-union dispute led to the unlawful treatment of a member of the minority union.   Bone, a mental health nurse, was a prominent member of a small trade union, the Workers of England Union (WEU), and a member of Unison. His employer recognised a number of trade unions, including Unison, but not…

Judgement published:
Employee relations , Termination

Supreme Court: November 2015 The case of USA v Nolan has still not reached a conclusion on whether the requirement to consult on collective redundancies is triggered when redundancies are proposed and relates mainly to how they are carried out, or when the decision that causes the redundancies (for example, the closure of a workplace) takes place.   Nolan was a civilian employee at a US Army base in Hampshire. Consultation took place when the US government decided to close the base, but…

Judgement published:
Employee relations

High Court – June 2015 The decision in this case illustrates the extent to which the courts will – or indeed, can - intervene in managing the relationship between an employer and a trade union that had persuaded the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) to impose a specified method of collective bargaining.   Collective bargaining arrangements agreed between an employer and a union are not normally legally binding. This case involved arrangements ordered by the Central Arbitration…

Judgement published:
Employee relations

Court of Justice of the European Union – May 2015 The European court has decided that the employers’ requirement to consult with employees contained in the collective redundancies directive is triggered by the number of employees being made redundant in a particular work unit, not by the number of redundancies being made across the organisation as a whole.   Under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA), employers must collectively consult where they…

Employees and workers, Employee relations

Court of Session - April 2015 Application of collective consultation requirements to employees on fixed-term contracts Facts The claimants were employed under fixed-term contracts which they had each agreed would come to an end at a particular date or at the end of a specific project. When their contracts came to an end and were not renewed, their union argued that the employer had failed to carry out collective consultation (for redundancy) according to s188 of the Trade Union and…

Judgement published:
Employee relations

Advocate General (CJEU) – February 2015 Employers must inform and consult collectively with employees where they propose to make 20 or more employees redundant at one establishment within a period of 90 days or fewer. Here the European advocate general produced a legal opinion on the meaning of ‘establishment’. This may not necessarily be followed by the Court of Justice of the European Union when the case is actually heard. Tribunal Woolworths went into administration in November…

Employee relations

High Court - September 2014 ‘Sweetheart’ tactics don’t infringe human rights Facts Boots had an existing collective bargaining agreement with the Boots Pharmacists Association (BPA). This was accepted as being a collective bargaining agreement within the definition of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, even though the agreement did not provide for negotiations for pay, hours or holidays. The agreement only recognised the association for collective bargaining…

Employee relations

European Court of Human Rights - Apri l2014 Human rights not hampered by ban on secondary industrial action Facts This case involved 20 members of the RMT trade union, transferred from Jarvis Group to Hydrex Equipment (UK) Ltd. Two years after the transfer, Hydrex decided to harmonise the employees’ terms and conditions in line with its own staff. The trade union members went on strike and, following negotiations, a revised offer was made and rejected.   The trade union claimed its…

Judgement published:
Equality , Employee relations

European Court of Human Rights - April 2014 In this case, the European Court of Human Rights had to consider whether UK legislation outlawing secondary industrial action was compatible with human rights law.   This case involved 20 members of the RMT trade union, who were transferred from Jarvis Group to Hydrex Equipment (UK) Ltd. Two years after the transfer, Hydrex decided to harmonise the employees’ terms and conditions in line with its own staff. The trade union members went on…

Judgement published:
Employee relations

Employment Appeal Tribunal - March 2014 Following redundancies and transfers under Tupe made by a London Borough the trade union Unison brought a claim over the failure to provide all the relevant information during consultation.   An employer carrying out a collective redundancy consultation, or transferring employees when a business changes hands, must give appropriate employee representatives certain prescribed information in writing concerning the redundancies or transfers, including…

Judgement published:
Employee relations , Termination

Court of Justice of the European Union - February 2014 In this case, the employees involved were civilian staff working on a military base. The Court of Appeal asked the Court of Justice of the European Union whether the obligation to consult arises when the employer has made proposals that will foreseeably or inevitably lead to collective redundancies, or a strategic business decision has actually been made and redundancies are being proposed as a consequence of it.   Under s.188 of the…

Judgement published:
Employee relations , Termination

Employment Appeal Tribunal - July 2013 In the Woolworth's redundancy case, the EAT decided the threshold of 20 or more employees for collective redundancy consultation purposes should be counted across all of an employer’s sites rather than at separate establishments. This would mean that a national supermarket giant, for example, with eight redundancies proposed at its Inverness store, seven at its Falmouth store, and nine at its Leicester warehouse, would be caught by the requirement to…

Judgement published:
Employee relations

Employment Appeal Tribunal - May 2013 In this case an employer chose to consult with its joint consultative committee about redundancies. However, the commitee did not have a negotiating function, and not all its employee representatives had been elected. Two employees claimed the consultation process was inadequate, seeking a protective award.   If an employer proposes to make 20 or more people redundant at one establishment within a period of 90 days or less, there is a requirement to…

Judgement published:
Employee relations

Employment Appeal Tribunal - May 2013 A manufacturer which closed abruptly when its bank refused to extend its overdraft, made all 124 employees redundant. The employees complained that it had failed in its duty to consult with the trade union or with the employees affected.   AEI Cables, a copper wiring and cable manufacturer, was badly affected by a rise in the price of copper between September 2010 and February 2011. The business faced increased competition and downward pressure on…

Judgement published:
Employee relations

Employment tribunal - April 2013 In this case a tribunal had to decide what award was appropriate when an employer failed to provide information to employee representatives about its use of agency workers during collective consultations over proposed redundancies.   An employer proposing to make 20 or more employees at one establishment redundant, within a period of 90 days or less, must carry out a collective redundancy consultation. This involves providing appropriate employee…

Judgement published:
Employee relations

Employment tribunal - February 2013 An employer's failure to provide information on its use of agency workers to workers' representatives, under the Tupe information and consultation and collective redundancies requirements, lead to high tribunal awards being made to its employees.   This decision is a reminder of a less well-publicised provision contained in the Agency Workers Regulations 2010. HR managers may not appreciate that these regulations require hirers (organisations using…

Employee relations

Employment Appeal Tribunal - December 2012 Not recruiting trade union members was not discriminatory Facts Three individuals applied for roles as scaffolders on 'shutdown' projects at oil depots. Their applications were turned down. Two of the three applied for roles at another project, and were turned down again. They were all trade union members. The sector is heavily unionised. The scaffolders had all been shop stewards previously, and had been involved in organising unofficial…

Employee relations

Employment Appeal Tribunal - October 2012 What is an 'establishment' for the purposes of collective consultation? Facts A group of teachers brought claims alleging that the local authority had failed in its duty to carry out collective consultation for redundancy purposes. As the teachers to be made redundant came from a number of schools run by the local authority, collective consultation would only be triggered if the establishment was defined more widely than individual schools. The…

Employee relations

High Court - December 2011 Was a ballot unlawful? Facts ASLEF, the trade union representing drivers on the London Underground, balloted its members in relation to taking strike action on Boxing Day 2011. The strike arose following a dispute relating to additional payments and holiday entitlement in return for working on Boxing Day.   London Underground applied for an injunction, arguing that the ballot was unlawful. They argued three points: that the ballot should have been restricted…

Employee relations , Termination

Employment Appeal Tribunal - June 2011 Not electing representatives when the required number volunteered did not breach the law Facts The organisation announced a redundancy of over 20 employees, due to the decision to close one of its sites. Some of the employees were offered jobs at other sites and subsequently a redundancy selection process took place.   The organisation did not recognise a trade union and had no employee representatives. Hence it proceeded to facilitate the…

Employee relations

Court of Appeal - March 2011 Extent to which failures in the ballot process render the ballot invalid Facts Both the RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport Trade Union) and ASLEF (Associated Society of Locomotive Steam Enginemen and Firemen Trade Union) had balloted their members for industrial action in separate events, one in December and one in January. In both cases, the industrial action was halted by the employers being granted an injunction, on the grounds that the ballot process had…

Employee relations

Employment Appeal Tribunal - February 2011 De-recognition decision not clearly communicated Facts The GMB trade union entered into a "Partnership Agreement" with Roadchef Ltd. This agreement gave the right of the GMB union to represent and negotiate on behalf of its members who worked in the organisation. Within the agreement there was a clause that allowed either party to terminate the agreement by giving six months’ notice.   After an acquisition, Roadchef Ltd became Roadchef…

Employee relations

Employment Appeal Tribunal - October 2010 Failure to carry out collective consultation led to protective award Facts For over 10 years the university had operated the same system for employees who were working on fixed term contracts that were about to expire. Employees were notified in writing that their employment would be at risk if funding for their role was not renewed. There would then be further consultation meetings when options such as redeployment, extension of contract or…

Employee relations

Court of Appeal - May 2010 No injunction granted despite minor ballot irregularities Facts The Unite union balloted British Airways cabin crew for industrial action. This followed on from an earlier ballot at the end of 2009 that had been ruled unlawful by the courts because a significant number of individuals who had left British Airways, or who were working their notice periods and would not be involved in the proposed industrial action, were sent (and returned) ballot papers.   On…