There are two key aspects to collective consultation: providing information to the appropriate representatives, and consulting about the proposed redundancies.
There is a prescribed list of information which is required to be given to the representatives at the very outset of the process. This requires employers to give extensive details of the proposals, the roles involved and the process which they intend to follow. This is generally given in a ‘section 188’ letter. Representatives will often request further information during the consultation process, and employers will generally be expected to provide this to enable meaningful consultation to take place unless there is a very good reason for not providing it.
The consultation aspect generally takes the form of several meetings between the employer and the employee representatives, who must also be given an opportunity to pass information to the individuals they represent. The consultation should cover a broad range of issues, such as whether the redundancies can be avoided or reduced in number, the applicable selection criteria to be used and the make-up of the applicable pools.
Collective consultation does not replace the need for individual consultation. Once the consultation process with the representatives has come to an end the employer then needs to conduct individual consultation meetings with those individuals at risk prior to issuing notice of redundancy.
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