Essentials of Employment Law
GMB v Man Truck and Bus UK Ltd  IRLR 636
A new company was formed by the merger of two independent businesses. In order to
harmonise the terms and conditions of the employees of the two businesses, the
company wrote to all the employees terminating their contracts of employment on a
particular day. They also wrote to all the employees offering to re-employ them from
the same day, but on the new harmonised terms and conditions. It was claimed that
these were ‘technical’ dismissals which were a means for the employer to reorganise
after the merger.
The EAT held that these were not ‘technical’ dismissals but genuine dismissals for
reasons of redundancy, as defined in section 195 TULRCA 1992.
If an employer is proposing to redeploy staff and put them on what is in reality a
different contract of employment, it may amount to a proposal to terminate the existing
contracts. It is important to note that the employees covered need not be employed for
any minimum number of hours per week.
Points for discussion
1 Are these ‘technical’ dismissals, which are a means for the employer to reorganise
after the merger? Or do they represent real dismissals, even though the employer
offered all the employees of both merged companies immediate re-employment?
2 What alternative approach could the employer have adopted to secure the changes
it wanted in the contracts of employment?