25 May 2012 #Employment
In the case of Seawell v Ceva it was decided that even though an employee may work full time for a single client, this does not mean he is necessarily assigned to an organised grouping of employees for the purposes of a service provision change or the transfer of his employment under TUPE.
The Claimant, Mr Moffat was employed by Ceva Freight (UK) Ltd. This company provided logistics and freight forwarding for Seawell, who owned offshore drilling platforms. Seawell then terminated this arrangement and took the service back in house. Ceva had various other clients, but one particular employee Mr Moffat worked only on the Seawell contract. It was noted that other employee’s time was split between the Seawell contract and other contracts.
An employment tribunal found that either Mr Moffat himself could comprise an organised grouping of employees or, alternatively, if the organised grouping of employees included Mr Moffat and colleagues, Mr Moffat was assigned to that organised grouping of employees as he spent all of his time on the service. On these alternative bases he transferred under TUPE.
However the EAT disagreed. There was no evidence to support that there was a group of employees specifically organised for this particular contract. It was stated that for there to be an organised grouping of employees, they must have been put together specifically for the purpose of relevant client work. Therefore there was no such conscious grouping of employees, based on the facts of this case and therefore there was no service provision change and no relevant transfer.