14 January 2015 #Employment
At the start of last year we reported that the Court of Appeal had referred the Woolworths and Ethel Austin cases to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) . These cases were considered by the ECJ on 20 November last year.
The ECJ is assisted by Advocates General who have a duty to give opinions on cases in an open and impartial manner. The union involved in the case, USDAW, has now reported that the Advocate General's opinion is due to be announced on 5th February.
This opinion will consider the issues referred to the ECJ which include whether the words 'at one establishment' in the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 should be disregarded for the purposes of collective redundancies. The opinion is not binding on the ECJ but is very influential and usually followed by the full court.
It is likely that the ECJ's decision will still take some months to be handed down following the opinion being announced, so we may not have the final decision until later in the year.
We will keep you updated on the progress of this case.