A Supreme Effort for TUPE Case

An interesting case is developing in the world of TUPE. If you are involved in TUPE transfers of employees from the public sector then it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on.

The case concerns a group of employees who brought claims for unlawful deduction of wages.  They were initially employed by a local authority, and were transferred to a private sector employer under TUPE.

Their contracts of employment provided that their “terms and   conditions of employment will be in accordance with collective agreements negotiated from time to time by the National Joint Council for Local Government”. The employees argued that after their transfer, their private sector employer was bound by the provisions of collective pay agreements negotiated in the local authority sector, even where the collective agreement was negotiated after the date of transfer.

Well the case made it to the Supreme Court who, unable to decide on the case, has referred it to the European Court of Justice. If the European Court of Justice rules in favour of the claimants then it could have serious implications for employers who have transferred employees on the basis that they could negotiate their own pay agreements.

As is always the case don’t expect anything soon from the European Court of Justice. However, watch this space as this one has the potential to jump up and bite you at a later date.

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