Workers are not commodities – hands off the right to strike says EPSU to Commission
(7 May 2012) The European Commission is proposing to regulate the right to strike. The need for this arises out of the decisions of the European Court of Justice that ruled in the Laval and Viking cases that the economic free movements are primary EU law and hence have a higher status as the right to industrial action. Strikes and other actions could be curtailed if they would hinder the free movement of establishment, goods and services. In its proposals to promote the internal market and prepared by Mario Monti the Commission indicated it would come forward with proposals to deal with this.
The EPSU Executive Committee recalls that the right to take collective action, including strikes, was and is important to ensure that workers, also in the public sector, can enjoy the benefits of their labour, improve their pay and conditions and defend themselves against the power of employers. Strikes have been essential to achieve many of the social rights workers enjoy today such as maximum working day and week, holidays, equal pay, pensions, health and safety protections and many more. Strikes have been and are essential to improve the situation of women, migrant and many others workers. The possibility to take collective action in trans-border situations now common in the EU should be explicitly recognized. Workers are not commodities. To argue that the EU economic freedoms, or rather the interests of the employers, justify limiting the right to collective action is perverse, offensive and disrespectful to workers. It also violates a fundamental human right to protect the dignity of working men and women. That this Commission has no intention of reversing the situation is made clear also by the below paragraph from Delivering the Single Market - State of the Play (emphasis added) “(..) The purpose of the Regulation clarifying the exercise of fundamental social rights alongside the freedom of establishment and provision of services (’Monti II Regulation’) will be to clarify the extent to which trade unions may use the right to strike in the case of cross-border operations, without reversing existing ECJ jurisprudence.” The European Commission fails to recognise the importance of existing European and international norms. The statement calls for action to oppose this regulation.
The statement was adopted by the EPSU Executive Committee 24 April 2012, Brussels
EPSU Executive Committee statement (EN/FR/DE/ES/SV/RU)
The ETUC position (EN/FR)
- An analysis of the proposal by Professor Bruun for the ETUI
Read our press communication
Danish Parliament rejects Monti II
The Swedish Parliament’s Labour Market committee has adopted a similar position as the Danish one of rejecting the Commission proposal. It argues that it is not consistent with the principle of subsidiarity. The Swedish Parliament will bring this to the attention of the EU institutions.
Position of the German DGB
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