In this case, the employment tribunal awarded 24,000 Woolworths employees 60 days' pay for the company's failure to consult collectively on their redundancies. However, around 3,000 staff who worked in Woolworths stores that had fewer than 20 employees missed out on protective awards, a result that is likely to be appealed.
The employer in this case fell into the classic trap of burying its head in the sand and failing to consult collectively with employees over the realistic possibility that its business might close and its workforce be made redundant.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that, in a collective redundancy situation, there will be an election of employee representatives where the number of nominees equates to the number of available places, even where there is no ballot.
In United States of America v Nolan  IRLR 40 CA, the Court of Appeal decided that the case could not be resolved without further guidance from the ECJ on the stage at which an employer's duty to consult over collective redundancies is triggered.
In Lancaster University v University and College Union  IRLR 4 EAT, the EAT held that the university failed to comply with its statutory obligations to consult collectively on the expiry of fixed-term contracts. The tribunal was also entitled to make a protective award of 60 days' pay.
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