Verizon convicted for breach of European Directives in connection to the information & consultation process

Wednesday 21 October 2020

The British Employment Tribunal has firmly condemned Verizon Management for breaching the right of Information and Consultation of the European Works Council (EWC).

As part of job cuts affecting 216 European Employees across 8 countries in Europe, Verizon European management only informed the Select Committee prior to the official press release. This constitutes a breach of the current EWC agreement, which stipulates a formal information and consultation must take place inclusive of the employee representatives for the impacted countries.

The Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) ruling on the dispute in the United Kingdom, had already firmly condemned Verizon on October 9th 2019 for breaching the Terms of the present agreement. Verizon management had also been condemned to pay the legal fees of the EWC. For the first time, a jurisdiction recognizes the right of EWCs to defend their rights and those costs shall be borne by the company.

Based on that decision, the EWC then logged a request to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in London, so that a financial fine associated with the previous sentence can be served. On 1 October 2020, the EAT confirmed the previous sentence and pronounced a fine of £35,000 while adding another fine of £5,000 to cover EWC legal cost.

In times where job cuts across Europe are on a sharp rise, the Verizon EWC is satisfied with the outcomes, which reminds Verizon Management, as well as managements within other multinationals, that information and consultation is a fundamental right within Europe and not just a negligible formality.

Even though, the fine is symbolic and comes 2 years after the fact, it has been pronounced to change Management’s mindset, spur Management to respect a fair and sincere social dialogue as it is the norm in the European Union.