04 March 2010 #Employment
Even though there may be special circumstances that apply where it could affect the timing of consultations under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, this does not preclude or excuse the employer`s obligation to consult.
In the case of Shanahan Engineering Ltd v Unite the Union UKEAT/0411/09, the construction contractor was requested by its client to terminate work on one of its construction projects within 3 days. This meant an immediate reduction in the workforce which would inevitably lead to redundancies. Did special circumstances exist in this case relating to the amount of time available for consultation? The EAT held that although special circumstances did exist, the employer`s obligation to inform and consult still remained.
The case also indicates that it may only be in very narrow circumstances can the defence of special circumstances be established.