Court of Appeal defines transnational matters for European Works Council agreements

In Olsten (UK) Limited v Adecco European Works Council [2023] EWCA Civ 883, the Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal concerning the scope of matters which fall within a European Works Council agreement made under the Transnational Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 1999.

The Central Arbitration Committee and the Employment Appeal Tribunal had agreed with the Works Council’s argument that redundancies which took place in Sweden and Germany amounted to a transnational matter because the decisions might have indirect effects on multiple countries even if there was no common cause or common intended effect.

Allowing the appeal, the Court of Appeal accepted the appellant’s submission that for a matter to be transnational, it must be a single matter which concerns, or has potential effects, in more than one country. Where there is no link between redundancies made in different countries, and they result from decisions made by local management in a decentralised business, then those are not transnational matters. The question of whether the redundancies in this case were transnational has been remitted to the Central Arbitration Committee.

The full decision can be found here.

Andrew Burns KC and Sam Way appeared for the successful appellants, instructed by Lewis Silkin LLP.

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