September 20, 2019
The UK Employment Appeals Tribunal decided that a transnational business may go ahead with an international restructuring rather than delaying it until it has received and considered the formal opinion of a European Works Council (EWC).
Andrew Burns QC writes in the BEERG Global Labor Newsletter, “It has been known, particularly where EWCs are based in France or other continental European countries, for unions to seek court injunctions to try to prevent a business change until the EWC was ready to provide its opinion to the employer.”
In a recent case involving Oracle and its EWC, the Tribunal held that, provided that an employer has given its EWC the necessary information on its proposals and engaged in consultation, it is not required to wait for an opinion from the EWC before implementing a decision.
“This judgment will be a substantial relief to multinationals who are proposing large time-critical restructuring projects across Europe,” Burns writes. “While they have an obligation to inform and consult EWCs in good time about such proposals, the EWCs cannot hold the employer to ransom by threatening to hold up the transaction until it is ready to issue its opinion.”