Maximum protection: The union was informed in March 2000 by the employer, a clothing manufacturer, that the factory may have to close. Staff were informed of the impending redundancies on 6 April 2000 and received letters of dismissal on 19 April 2000. Union representatives discussed saving the factory with the employer on 13 June, but it closed on 14 July without further discussion. The union sought a protective award on behalf of its members.
The tribunal found there had been no meaningful consultation and the employer had provided none of the information required. The tribunal awarded the maximum protective award period of 90 days. The EAT and the Court of Appeal upheld the tribunal’s decision.
Where an employer fails to collectively consult on redundancies, the tribunal should start with the maximum protected period of 90 days. The award was for the employer’s breach of duty to consult and for not compensating staff.
The focus should be on the seriousness of the employer’s default. Where there has been no consultation at all, the maximum period of 90 days should be awarded and only cut if there are any extenuating circumstances. It does not matter that consultation would have made no difference.