Seahorse Maritime Ltd v Nautilus International

Our final case this week concerns redundancy. And asks: Does a vessel constitute as an establishment for the purposes of redundancy consultation?

Seahorse Maritime Ltd, the Respondent, had a fleet of 25 vessels that each had their own crew. The Respondent announced some redundancies and did individual instead of collective consultation as there were less than 20 redundancies on each ship.

Nautilus International, the Trade Union for the Respondent’s crews and the Claimant, argued that the vessels were not an establishment and that collective redundancy consultation should have applied. The ET agreed and allowed the claim. The Respondent appealed but the EAT rejected the appeal. It held that the individual vessels were not establishments.

The takeaway point:

No, a vessel is not an establishment for the purposes of collective redundancy consultation. Whilst this point will not be relevant for many readers it shows that the ET will not always consider separate working areas as establishments. This could lead to more common places of work not being held as establishments in future decisions.