28 March 2019 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
In spite of the High Court ruling against the joint employment law last week "the matter is far from over", according to a white paper by a legal advisory consultancy firm.
The document, Joint Employer Status: Implications for Outsourcing in the FM Sector, published by International Workplace, is a legal update on the employment law aspects of outsourcing for the facilities management sector.
It looks at key issues service providers must be aware of in terms of employment legislation including TUPE, commercial obligations and contractual relationship between a business and its workers.
Tar Tumber, director of employee relations at International Workplace and author of the paper, writes that while outsourcing is seen "as a valuable business tool for organisations, legal restrictions do apply to the service provider, specifically in the form of employment legislation".
The paper focuses on the case involving outsourced workers' fight for equal rights that the High Court rejected last week.
The case concerns security guards, post room staff and porters employed on contract between the University of London and Cordant Services, with the IWGB union making the case for the university being seen as their 'de facto employer'.
The High Court rejected the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain's (IWGB) argument that outsourced workers should be entitled to negotiate over pay rates and job terms with both their employer and the employer's client.
Tumber writes: "This is unlikely to be the last word on the matter as the IWGB are likely to take this case further and are also behind other similar cases involving other organisations. This makes it of great interest to any facilities management service providers or contractors who provide outsourced staff to their clients."
She adds: "Therefore, whilst the 'outward' impact on outsourcing would be minimal, both clients and outsourced providers would be wise to review the 'real-life' outsourcing arrangements in order to mitigate and minimise the likelihood of a claim being raised against them in the future."
The paper was produced in association with the UK chapter of the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA).
To download the white paper, click here.