Dismissal was connected with transfer

Taylor v Connex South Eastern, IDS Brief 670, EAT

Following BR’s privatisation in 1996, Taylor’s contract transferred to CSE pursuant to the Tupe regulations. Because they failed to agree new contractual terms Taylor’s employment continued under the BR terms.

In 1998, CSE proposed further terms but Taylor refused to accept them because they were less favourable. He was then dismissed.

The tribunal held that although the matter in dispute (which led to dismissal) related to the BR terms, this was no longer a "live issue" connected with the transfer. About 250 staff had accepted the same terms proposed to Taylor and they had no dispute with CSE. The dismissal was for "some other substantial reason" and was reasonable in the circumstances.

Taylor successfully appealed. The regulations give rise to individual rights. Although most of the employees had accepted the new terms, Taylor had not and this meant he was still in dispute with CSE about the original BR terms, an issue directly connected with the transfer, regardless of the time that had elapsed. His dismissal was automatically unfair and the issue of reasonableness was irrelevant.


What constitutes working time?

SIMAP v Conselleria de Sanidad y Consumo de la Generalidad Valenciana, unreported, October 2000, ECJ

l The Working Time directive ensures the health and safety of workers by regulating the hours worked and granting minimum periods of rest and holidays. Under the Valencian regulations, doctors working in primary care teams were not subject to any daily, weekly, monthly or annual limits and also had to undertake additional work when on call. The union, SIMAP, argued that the directive had not been properly implemented into national law.

The European Court of Justice held that the doctors did not fall into any of the exempted categories and the Directive applied. All time spent on call should be regarded as "working time" if the doctors were required to be present at the health centres while on call. If the doctors merely had to be contactable and available at all times while on call, only their actual time spent working would be classified as "working time".

Work carried out while on call constituted shift work and any consent to "opt out" of the Directive’s provisions had to be given individually rather than via a collective agreement.

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