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Eddie Stobart case clarifies TUPE rules

27th February 2012

A landmark tribunal case has confirmed that, in order to be protected by TUPE, groups of employees have to have been specifically directed to do their duties in accordance with the desires of the client they are working on behalf of. 

The judgement was made in an action brought by a group of former Eddie Stobart employees against a business called FJG Logistics Ltd., which picked up a large pre-existing contract after the haulage company’s Nottinghamshire depot closed in April 2009. The workers claimed that their jobs should have been safeguarded by the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE), but Mr Justice Underhill overruled them, stating that the fact they operated on a shift basis – meaning they essentially worked exclusively for Vion, the organisation that held the contract before FJG – was not sufficient.

The news will be welcomed by people working in law recruitment and the wider sector, as it represents a clearer picture of the complex TUPE rules that should lead to a reduction in the number of lengthy legal wrangles over their meaning.