Magazine article European Social Policy

Collective Redundancies : National Judges Reminded to Apply 1998 Directive Correctly

Magazine article European Social Policy

Collective Redundancies : National Judges Reminded to Apply 1998 Directive Correctly

Article excerpt

On the much talked about subject of collective redundancies, the EU Court of Justice was called on to answer two very specific questions raised by a Greek court. 1. What is the interpretation of the concept of establishment' in Article 1(1a) of Council Directive 98/59/EC of 20 July 1998? 2. To what degree can an employer benefit from reduced obligations (no requirement to notify the public authorities, shortened deadlines) in the case of planned collective redundancies arising from termination of the establishment's activities as a result of a judicial decision? (verdict handed down on 15 February, Athinaiki Chartppiia, C-270/05). Athinaiki Chartppiia, a paper manufacturer, decided to close one of its units that was running at a loss. Once negotiations on the subject started, the company failed to communicate some of the information to the worker representatives, refused to extend the consultations and broke some work contracts.

The Court started by maintaining that certain national jurisdictions, notably in Greece, had a somewhat confused and broad interpretation of the derogation. "The derogation in question is applicable solely when the termination of the activities of an undertaking or an operating unit follows a judicial decision," explained the Court. "In all other cases, and particularly when the termination of the establishment's activities is solely of the employer's volition, the employer has the obligation to pursue consultations with the workers during a supplementary period before the competent public authority. …

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