Talke Fashions Ltd v Society of Textile Workers: EAT 1978

The employer announced the closure of two factories and the redundancy of the workforce, at one factory in 15 days’ time and, at the other, in 63 days’ time. There was no consultation. The employer appealed a 60 day protective award.
Held: (Majority) Appeal allowed in part. The ET were misled into thinking that the statutory provisions were merely penal.

Mr Sirs (dissenting) thought that the ET came to the right answer because, once the ET decided to make an award, it should be of the maximum period unless the employer could show mitigating factors, and there was none.
Kilner Brown J: ‘In linking the maximum period of a protective award with the period of notice and consultation required before dismissing for redundancy the legislation would appear to contemplate an award of compensation commensurate with the loss suffered by an employee who has been given short shrift in a redundancy situation. This is consistent with the whole spirit of both the Redundancy Payments Act 1965 and, more particularly, the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974.’ and ‘The other factor which has to be considered when reaching an answer which is just and equitable is the seriousness of the employer’s default. The wording seems to us to be singularly unfortunate. Does this import an element of punishment for a bad breach of industrial relations? We are told that many industrial tribunals do so regard it. Indeed, in this instant case Mr. Lisle, the well known and much respected general secretary of the trade union involved, made no bones about it. In a submission reminiscent of a (foreign) public prosecutor calling for a maximum punishment, he maintained that it was a penal clause and a bad case of default called for the maximum period of award against the employer. If this interpretation and this approach be right, then this part of this subsection is wholly inconsistent with the spirit of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974.’


Kilner Brown J, Brian Sirs


[1978] 1 WLR 558


England and Wales

Cited by:

DisapprovedSusie Radin Ltd v GMB and others CA 20-Feb-2004
The company made redundancies but failed to carry out any effective or honest consultation. The tribunal awarded the maximum 90 days protective order. The company appealed saying that it had given the employees greater notice than was strictly due. . .
ApprovedClarks of Hove Ltd v Bakers’ Union EAT 1978
Protective award – redundancy consultation. Kilner Brown J discussed what was meant by special circumstances by comparison with disqualification as a driver and the Road Traffic Acts where ‘special reasons’ have been held to mean ‘special to the . .
ApprovedTGWU v Gainsborough Distributors EAT 1978
Redundancy consultation – protective award . .
ApprovedJoshua Wilson and Bros Ltd v USDAW 1978
Redundancy consultation – protective award . .
CitedHaine v Secretary of State for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and Another; Day v Haine CA 11-Jun-2008
Former employees had obtained a protective award against the company for failing to consult on the impending redundancies and submitted proofs of debt to the liquidator who sought guidance from the court. The judge had held that since the Act . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.194615