The EAT, in Vauxhall Motors v TGWU, has given guidance on when (and if) an employer needs to begin fresh consultation with a union about multiple redundancies under TULR(C)A 1992, s188.
Vauxhall were proposing to make several hundred people redundant. They sent all relevant information to the union, and also to the DTI on form HR1.
Consultation proved successful in deferring the redundancies for about 18 months. However, about 46 employees remained at risk of redundacy. Vauxhall sent a new HR1 to the DTI in respect of those 46 employees, but did not re-notify the union or launch fresh consultation.
The EAT agreed with the tribunal that s188 consultations were not a "piece of elastic" which could stetch indefinitely through time. However, overturning the tribunal, on these facts the 46 employees were a sub-set of the several hundred that the union had originally consulted over, and therefore Vauxhall had fulfilled its obligations under s188. Accordingly the decision granting a protective award of 70 days' pay per employee was quashed.
Vauxhall Motors v TGWU