Our Ref: LA/ 29 /13
29th July 2013
To: Branches, Regional Councils & Regional Offices
Yet another kick in the teeth for Trade Unions comes again from Europe, in a in a case which it had been hoped would change TUPE law in favour of employees. Alemo-Herron vs. Parkwood Leisure was a landmark case with serious implications, particularly for workers being transferred from the public sector to private sector companies.
The case was brought almost three years ago after Parkwood Leisure refused to pay its workers an increase in line with a collective agreement the employees understood to have been transferred as part of their protections under TUPE Regulations.
However, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on18 July 2013) ruled that industry or sector-wide collective agreements that are incorporated into the contracts of employees should not be protected during a transfer.
The contracts of Parkwood Leisure employees stated that their wages should rise "from time to time" according to collective bargaining agreements, but the Court ruled that such "dynamic" agreements do not need to be adhered to after a transfer has taken place.
However, the collectively-agreed pay rate of workers at the time of their transfer continues to be protected under TUPE regulations.
The decision is a very disappointing one for the trade unionmovement, the ECJ has shifted the traditional interpretation of TUPE as a set of legislation to protect workers, to concentrate on therights of bosses instead.