In a landmark decision, the Court of Appeal recently affirmed the continued existence of European Works Councils (EWCs) for certain UK-based businesses post-Brexit transition. This ruling stems from amendments made to employment regulations in anticipation of a no-deal Brexit in March 2019.
I was interested to read about these new rulings in a couple of articles published in the last few weeks. You can read one article here on the Lewis Silkin website, written by David Hopper (Hello David, thank you for your help and generous time last week!) and William Brown.
The rulings came about principally following the recent easyJet ruling. In brief, easyJet had put a German representative in charge of its EWC. When the EWC complained about not being consulted properly, there was a debate about whether the UK committees like the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) could deal with it. The CAC, EAT and Court of Appeal all agreed, meaning EWCs in UK-based companies set up before Brexit still exist.
The ruling noted that the amendments had been “poorly drafted” but decided that UK-based businesses with EWCs established before the end of the Brexit transition period must operate two separate EWCs: one under EU law and one under UK law.
This will naturally present some practical challenges for businesses to navigate these complex situations. In addition, the extra financial burden for businesses should be recognised along with additional compliance and communication requirements.
European Works Councils are one of my specialities, and with many years of experience in this area, I am always happy to talk to clients old and new about the services I can provide, keeping communication throughout your business clear and inclusive so everyone’s voice is heard.