Collective Consultation

Thursday 30th April 2015

The long-awaited decision in the Woolworths and Ethel Austin cases has been handed down by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The ECJ ruled that in the context of collective redundancy:

  • an “establishment” refers to an individual workplace and not to the employer as a whole; and
  • when establishing whether an employer “is proposing to dismiss at least 20 employees within a period of 90 days or less”, each workplace should be considered separately.


There was therefore no obligation to collectively consult with staff who worked in a store that employed fewer than 20 employees.

The case has been referred back to the Court of Appeal for disposal in accordance with the ECJ’s decision which means that the Court of Appeal will overturn the EAT’s decision.