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Balkaya v Kiesel Abbruch und Recycling Technik GmbH C-229/14;  IRLR 771; (2015) EMPLR 052
9 July 2015
European Court of Justice
The obligation to consult over collective redundancies is triggered if the employer proposes to make 20 or more workers redundant. In this case, the threshold of 20 would only have been reached if a director and a publicly funded trainee counted as ‘workers’.
The ECJ held that the director was a ‘worker’. Unlike UK law, under German law such directors are not regarded as employees. The interesting point in this judgment is that the court also held that the publicly funded trainee was a ‘worker’. The definition of ‘worker’ normally applied by the ECJ is someone who, for a certain period of time, performs services for and under the direction of another person in return for remuneration. The trainee received payment, but the payment came from the public authority which was responsible for promoting employment and not from the employer. The Court treated that payment as ‘remuneration’ so the definition of ‘worker’ was satisfied.