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Alderson v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry [2003] EWCA Civ 1767

Transfer of undertakings - European Law - Claimant employed as refuse collector by council - Council transferred refuse collection service to commercial company - Terms and conditions offered were less favourable than employees had enjoyed when working for council - Refuse collection services were ‘in the nature of a commercial venture’ for purposes of Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 as originally enacted

30 January 2004

A representative claimant (D) was employed as a refuse collector by Liverpool City Council. The council transferred its refuse collection service to a commercial company (Onyx). The terms and conditions offered by Onyx were less favourable than those the employees had enjoyed when working for the council. The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 excluded from the operation of the regulations undertakings, which were not ‘in the nature of a commercial venture’. In anticipation of the decision of the European Court of Justice in proceedings alleging failure by the United Kingdom properly to implement Council Directive 77/187/EEC (the acquired rights directive), (Commission of the European Communities v United Kingdom Cases C-382/92 & C-383/92 [1994] ICR 664), the ‘not in the nature of a commercial venture’ limitation was removed from the Regulations. The claimants' case was that the UK government had erroneously excluded the transfer of th...

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