Nederlandse voorstellen ‘Wet overgang van onderneming in faillissement’ – Wat met werknemersbescherming na Smallsteps en Plessers?

Consultatieronde van start

Op 29 mei 2019 verschenen de Nederlandse voorstellen voor een wet en ministeriële regeling “overgang van onderneming in faillissement”. Die voorstellen zijn er gekomen naar aanleiding van de uitspraak van het Europees Hof van Justitie in de zaak Smallsteps. Daarin werd geoordeeld dat de Nederlandse pre-packpraktijk niet richtlijnconform is. De Nederlandse voorstellen kunnen ter inspiratie dienen voor de Belgische wetgever bij het opstellen van een meer coherente en richtlijnconforme regelgeving inzake werknemersbescherming bij (i) de overdracht van een onderneming uit faillissement en (ii) de gerechtelijke reorganisatie door overdracht onder gerechtelijk gezag (hierna: ‘GROG’). Continue reading “Nederlandse voorstellen ‘Wet overgang van onderneming in faillissement’ – Wat met werknemersbescherming na Smallsteps en Plessers?”

The ECJ in ‘Plessers’: Employee Protection in Insolvency Proceedings by Transfer of Undertaking

In search of the right balance between employee protection and efficiency of insolvency proceedings

In its preliminary ruling of today, the ECJ has followed its AG and decided that Council Directive 2001/23/EC (the ‘Directive’) must be interpreted as precluding national legislation, such as Article 61(3) of the Belgian WCO (now Article XX.86(3) WER), which, in the event of the transfer of an undertaking which has taken place in the context of proceedings for judicial restructuring by transfer under judicial supervision (‘GROG’) applied with a view to maintaining all or part of the transferor or its activity, entitles the transferee to choose the employees which it wishes to keep on.

On 23 April 2012, NV Echo entered into a judicial reorganisation proceeding. A collective agreement could not be reached and on 19 February 2013, a GROG was initiated. On 22 April 2013, NV Prefaco took over the business of NV Echo together with two-thirds of the total employees of the transferor.

Plessers, who was one of the dismissed employees, argued (among other things) that Continue reading “The ECJ in ‘Plessers’: Employee Protection in Insolvency Proceedings by Transfer of Undertaking”

Frederik De Leo about Plessers-case on ‘Oxford Business Law Blog’

The day after the ECJ’s AG Szpunar delivered his opinion in the case Plessers, a first analysis by Frederik De Leo was published on the Corporate Finance Lab (see here). Other versions of this blog post have now appeared on the Oxford Business Law Blog (in English) and in ‘De Juristenkrant’ (in Dutch).

In these other versions, the author discusses the possible consequences of the ECJ following its AG’s opinion from a comparative perspective. In this context, the author observes the following: Continue reading “Frederik De Leo about Plessers-case on ‘Oxford Business Law Blog’”

Plessers: the ECJ on a Killing Spree in the Belgian Insolvency Landscape?

Setting the Boundaries of Articles 3–5 of Council Directive 2001/23/EC in the Aftermath of Smallsteps

Yesterday, Advocate General (AG) Szpunar delivered his opinion in Plessers (C-509/17), a case before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that concerns the protection of employees in one of the Belgian insolvency proceedings, i.e. the judicial reorganisation by transfer under judicial supervision/gerechtelijke reorganisatie door overdracht onder gerechtelijk gezag (hereinafter referred to as ‘GROG’). If the ECJ follows the interpretation by AG Szpunar of Articles 3-5 of Council Directive 2001/23/EC (hereinafter the ‘Directive’), the referring court would have almost no other option than to rule that Article 61(3) WCO (now: Article XX.86, §3 WER) violates the Directive.

 

Background

On 23 April 2012, NV Echo entered into a judicial reorganisation by way of collective agreement. However, a collective agreement could not be reached, and on 19 February 2013, the judicial reorganisation proceeding was transformed into a GROG. On 22 April 2013, NV Prefaco took over the business of NV Echo together with two-thirds of the total employees of the transferor.

Plessers, who was one of the dismissed employees, argued (among other things) that Article 61(3) WCO violates the Directive. Continue reading “Plessers: the ECJ on a Killing Spree in the Belgian Insolvency Landscape?”

The ECJ in “Estro/Smallstep” on the Dutch pre-pack in relation to article 5(1) of Directive 2001/23

A red flag for the pre-pack as we know it?

In its preliminary ruling of today, the ECJ has decided that the Dutch pre-pack does not come under the derogation in Article 5(1) of Directive 2001/23. The reasoning of the ECJ will have important consequences for the pre-pack-practice and (draft) legislation in all European Member States, including Belgium, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.

Background: Project Butterfly

In November 2013, Estro Groep BV (with 380 establishments and 3.600 employees the largest childcare company in the Netherlands) entered into financial distress. Since plan A, i.e. consulting its lenders and principal shareholders in order to obtain further financing, was unsuccessful, “Project Butterfly” came into force. Under Project Butterfly, a significant part of Estro Group would be transferred pursuant to a pre-pack: 243 centers out of 380 would be saved and 2.500 employees out of 3.600 would keep their job. Continue reading “The ECJ in “Estro/Smallstep” on the Dutch pre-pack in relation to article 5(1) of Directive 2001/23”