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Finland / Supreme Court / KKO:2020:58, S2018/611

11 claimants v. company L oy

Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Supreme Court
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
13/08/2020
ECLI:
ECLI:FI:KKO:2020:58
 
Key facts of the case:
An employer had introduced separate consultation procedures simultaneously with two different personnel groups. The purpose was to reduce costs by reducing staff. As a result, 14 employees lost their jobs. Eleven of them argued that the employer had failed to observe the provisions of the Act on Cooperation with Undertakings (334/2007) for not having combined the two consultation procedures. They claimed indemnification by virtue of the indemnification clause in the Act. The Act on Cooperation with Undertakings incorporates into national law the provisions of the Information and Consultation of Employees Directive 2002/14/EC and the Collective Redundancies Directive 98/59/EC. Because the applicable national Act implements EU law, the Supreme Court noted, with reference to the established jurisprudence of the CJEU, that as a national court, it is bound to interpret the Act, as far as possible, in the light of the two directives and Article 27 of the Charter.
 
Key legal question raised by the Court:
The employer had not chosen to combine the two simultaneous consultation procedures. The court considered whether this meant that the employees’ right to information and consultation, as provided for in the Collective Redundancies Directive and the Charter, had not been implemented in a manner that is effective and useful.The employer had not chosen to combine the two simultaneous consultation procedures. The court considered whether this meant that the employees’ right to information and consultation, as provided for in the Collective Redundancies Directive and the Charter, had not been implemented in a manner that is effective and useful.
 
Outcome of the case:
The provisions of the Information and Consultation of Employees Directive, the Collective Redundancies Directive and the Act on Cooperation with Undertakings leave it for the employer to decide whether simultaneously projected measures are discussed in separate consultation procedures or a joint procedure. A key element is that the representatives of the personnel groups, whom the projected measures concern, are consulted on each such measure. Whether this is in joint or separate procedures, the employer has a duty to see to it that the procedure meets with the requirements set in the Act on Cooperation with Undertakings and that the employees’ right to information and consultation is ensured. In this case, the representatives of the personnel groups concerned had received at the early stage of the consultation procedures information about projected measures that were relevant with regard to issues discussed in both procedures. The personnel groups concerned were represented by the same shop steward, who participated in and was thus informed of the developments in both procedures. The final decision on measures which were concerning both personnel groups was made by the employer only after both consultation procedures had been completed. The Supreme Court concluded that the employer had not failed to observe the provisions of the Act on Cooperation within Undertakings. There were thus no grounds for an indemnification claim.