I specialise in advising on industrial relations and collective employment law.
Business Reorganisations, Business Transfers and Labour Cost Reductions
I develop proactive industrial relations strategies for businesses wishing to implement complex business reorganisations, business transfers and labour cost reductions. My experience includes advising on:
- collective redundancy consultations, including “fire and rehire” exercises to effect changes to employees’ terms and conditions
- TUPE transfers, including reliance on the “special circumstances” defence of having undertaken such steps as were reasonably practicable to inform and consult with employees in the context of an administration
- consultations on listed pensions changes, under the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004 and with European Works Councils
I have defended complaints in the Employment Tribunal, Central Arbitration Committee and Employment Appeal Tribunal in respect of alleged insufficient information and consultation.
European Works Councils
I have a particular focus on advising on European Works Councils under UK and Irish law. I regularly advise on establishment requests, special negotiating body processes and the holding of annual and exceptional circumstances meetings. I also have extensive experience defending EWC litigation. My experience includes successfully:
- securing the withdrawal of complaints to Employment Tribunals based on jurisdictional issues
- defending HPE in a test case heard by the Central Arbitration Committee on its relocation of its EWC arrangements from the UK to Ireland in 2016 following the Brexit referendum
- defending Oracle in the first ever appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal on the operation of a EWC
Trade Union Recognition
I regularly negotiate and renegotiate voluntary recognition agreements. I also have experience defending statutory recognition requests ranging from negotiations at ACAS to litigating in the Court of Appeal. My experience includes successfully:
- securing the withdrawal of an application to the Central Arbitration Committee following commitments to negotiate a tailored voluntary recognition agreement
- defending an application from being accepted by the Central Arbitration Committee, and defending appeals against that decision in the High Court and Court of Appeal
- defending against statutory recognition through challenging a union’s proposed bargaining unit and then mounting a successful campaign to convince the revised bargaining unit to vote against recognition
Proactive industrial relations strategies help employers avoid industrial action. Strikes and industrial action short of a strike are nevertheless sometimes unavoidable. I advise on all aspects of industrial action including union balloting, picketing, the withholding of pay, the use of agency workers and the strategic considerations involved in deciding whether to seek a strike injunction.
Awards and recognition
- Legal 500 2022: “‘the strongest team in the UK for some industrial relations issues, particularly union recognition and European Works Councils’ – David Hopper leads the firm’s industrial relations work”
- Up & Coming in Chambers 2022 (Employment: Employer: Industrial Relations)
- Chambers 2022 (Employment: Employer: Industrial Relations) - 'He's outstanding; he is clearly a subject matter expert. He has a huge amount of knowledge and experience'
- Chambers 2022 (Employment: Employer: Industrial Relations) - 'He is easy to reach, he is pragmatic, his advice is clear and concise, he has a commercial understanding and he is approachable'
- Associate to Watch in Chambers 2021 (Employment: Employer: Industrial Relations)
- Chambers 2021 (Employment: Employer: Industrial Relations) - "There's nothing he doesn't know about European Works Councils"
- Chambers 2021 (Employment: Employer: Industrial Relations) - "He is very bright, switched-on and well versed in the law"