THE RETAIL BULLETIN - The home of retail news
HOME
RETAIL NEWS
RETAIL EVENTS
Fashion
Department Stores
Shopping Centres & Retail Parks
Home & DIY
Electricals
Health & Beauty
General Merchandise
Entertainment
Sports & Leisure
Retail Solutions
Food & Drink
RETAIL INSIGHTS
RETAIL SOLUTIONS
ABOUT US
CONTACT US
SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE
Woolies continues to shake up the retail landscape from beyond the grave

Despite its demise in 2008, Woolworths is at the heart of a landmark legal case this week, which entitles thousands of shopworkers to a £5 million payout. By Gavin Matthews, head of retail at Bond Dickinson.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Woolies continues to shake up the retail landscape from beyond the grave

The Employment Appeal Tribunal decision, announced this week, overturns a previous ruling that said shopworkers employed in stores with fewer than 20 staff were not entitled to a payout. The administrators for Woolworths and Ethel Austin had not consulted properly with the staff’s representatives, which they are obliged to do when employees are about to lose their jobs, but only those employees who worked in a store with at least 20 staff were awarded compensation.

UK regulations provide that the consultation obligations only apply where 20 or more jobs are being lost at one establishment, so it appears that the EAT decided that UK regulations don't interpret EU law correctly.  It is not yet clear exactly what the judges have decided, but as soon as their judgment is available, retailers may have to rethink how they deal with redundancies affecting a number of stores. This major case could change the face of UK redundancy law and it is very important for all retailers, particularly those who may be having to consider larger scale redundancies in the difficult economic climate, to be aware of the ramifications of this ruling.  

Retail employers must now tread very carefully when planning the procedures for redundancy consultations and ensure that they are doing everything possible to avoid ending up in the same position as Woolworths or Ethel Austin. It is not only the cost implications but the potential damage to brand and reputation, if the store is making redundancies in a bid to survive, that could be extremely harmful.

Email this article to a friend

You need to be logged in to use this feature.

Please log in here

Subscribe For Retail News

RETAIL EVENTS

Retail Human Resources Summit
Retail Human Resources Summit
Wednesday 3 October 2018
The Cavendish Conference Centre, London W1
The 10th HR Summit 2018, The Cavendish Conference Centre, London W1, 3rd October 2018
The Retail Design Summit 2018
The Retail Design Summit 2018
14 November 2018
The Cavendish Conference Centre
The Retail Design Summit 2018
Omnichannel Futures Conference 2019
Omnichannel Futures Conference 2019
6 February 2019
Cavendish Conference Centre, London WG1 9DT
A truly omnichannel offering requires an understanding of customer behaviour across all shopping channels and how this should impact your overall business strategy
Customer Engagement Conference 2019
Customer Engagement Conference 2019
5 June 2019
Cavendish Conference Centre, London W1
The 10th Annual Retail Customer Engagement Summit
National Minimum Wage Breakfast Briefing
National Minimum Wage Breakfast Briefing
20 September 2018
6th Floor 1, St. Martin's Le Grand London, EC1A 4AS
National Minimum Wage Breakfast Briefing