In Amicus v Macmillan Publishers Ltd (24th July)
the EAT has awarded a penalty for the first time for failing to
comply with the Information and Consultation of Employee (ICE)
The ICE Regulations require larger employers to put in place
arrangements to ensure that employees are informed and consulted on
a wide range of issues. The procedure varies according to the
employer’s circumstances. Here it required a ballot to be
held of the relevant employees to elect the appropriate number of
information and consultation representatives, within a fixed time
limit. Macmillan did not hold a ballot and the Central Arbitration
Committee (CAC) made a declaration to that effect. Amicus then
applied to the EAT for a penalty to be imposed on Macmillan.
The EAT concluded that this was a significant
failure because "it must have been plain, reading the legislation,
that the relevant provisions were being ignored at almost every
stage". No adequate reasons were given for failing to comply with
the obligations. In fact two earlier breaches of the ICE
regulations by Macmillan had been upheld by the CAC.
The EAT warned that employers must recognise that
the ICE regulations confer important rights on workers and must be
complied with. The EAT thought it appropriate, in fixing the
penalty, to stipulate a sum which, within the limits imposed by
legislation (£75,000), would deter others from adopting, what it
described as, the wholly cavalier attitude to their obligations
that was demonstrated by Macmillan.
Employers who are opposed to the ICE regulations
and attempt to delay their implementation for as long as they
reasonably can should take careful note of this judgment.