The long awaited decision from the ECJ was handed down this morning in the Woolworths case. The central issue for the ECJ to determine for the purposes of collective consultation whether each store was an establishment or the pool should be bigger. The ECJ has stated that it refers to the individual’s workplace not the employer as a whole. Therefore in this case and other cases that were joined, the meaning of establishment was the store where the employees worked. This meant that in many cases Woolworths was right not to collectively consult as there were fewer than 20 employees at the stores in question.
The case will now go back to the Court of Appeal which will no doubt in light of this ruling overturn the surprise EAT decision from 2013 which said that the meaning of establishment was wider than just the store where they worked. This is good news for employers and ends two years of uncertainty.