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Those responsible for employment decisions in firms and businesses with multiple office locations will have been relieved that the Advocate General recommended a reversal of the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s interpretation of ‘one establishment’ in the Woolworths cases (USDAW v Ethel Austin Ltd (In administration) UKEAT/0547/12/kn IRL886) when his opinion was handed down on 5 February 2015. However, as the European Court of Justice is not obliged to follow the AG’s opinion, we still have some time to wait for further clarity on this issue.
Until the ECJ delivers its judgment, in the UK the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision in USDAW v Ethel Austin Ltd technically remains good law and therefore it is safest to proceed in accordance with the principles established. Therefore, as the EAT found that the ‘one establishment’ wording in s188 Trade Union & Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRA) should be disregarded, firms will still have to aggregate the total number of potential redundancies across all of their office or branc
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