On Monday 23rd September 2019 it was announced that Thomas Cook had collapsed.
The holiday firm failed to secure a last minute deal after rescue talks failed.
Section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA) requires an employer to undertake a collective consultation with the Trade Union or appropriately appointed employee representatives in the case of large scale redundancies. This covers redundancies of 20 or more employees within a period of 90 days or less. The effect of the collective consultation is to act as a moratorium on the proposed dismissals so that the dismissals cannot take effect for a minimum period of time once the consultation has started.
The employer must also notify BEIS of the above redundancies. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.
Consultation must begin in good time. Where 100 or more redundancies are proposed, the consultation must begin at least 45 days before the first dismissal takes effect. For fewer than 100 redundancies, the minimum period is 30 days.
The employer can argue “special circumstances” which render it not reasonably practicable to consult in good time so that it does not have to fully comply with the duty. However, the employer must still take such steps towards compliance as are reasonably practicable. “Special circumstances” is interpreted very narrowly and difficult to succeed on.
Failure to comply with any of the rules on information or consultation can lead to a protective award.
The maximum protective award is up to 90 days’ gross pay for each dismissed employee. This is based on the normal weekly pay and not the statutory cap which limits a weeks’ pay (currently £525.00).
For expert advice on redundancy matters, please contact our Head of Employment Yunus Lunat on 0113 284 5000 or email email@example.com
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