LuxLeaks trial reminds that whistleblowers need EU legal protection, says trade union coalition

Press Statement  (Brussels 29 June 2016) The Luxembourg court condemned on 29 June LuxLeaks whistleblowers Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet, former employees at PWC, to 12 and 9 months suspended sentence respectively; journalist Edouard Perrin was cleared. In response, European trade unions call for immediate EU legal protection for whistleblowers.

A coalition of trade unions, including Eurocadres and EPSU, working together for an EU-wide protection of  whistleblowers, condemns this verdict. These three Frenchmen should be praised not punished for uncovering the industrial scale of the huge tax breaks granted by the Grand Duchy to some of the world’s largest profitable companies.

The LuxLeaks trial is a sad reminder that whistleblowers often end up paying a high price for disclosing information that every citizen should know.

Whistleblowers play an essential role in bringing to light activities which  are either illegal or which harm or threaten the public interest.

Thanks to the LuxLeaks revelations, the legality of tax rulings is being scrutinised in light of EU state aid rules, whilst a draft EU directive for corporate tax transparency is currently being debated in Parliament and Council (public country-by-country reporting).

The trade unions will launch an initiative together with NGOs in the Autumn to join hands with the support in the European Parliament for strong whistleblower protection for all workers. The right to protection from reprisal is essential for promoting compliance with EU obligations. It should be made part of the Commission’s proposed European Pillar of Social Rights.

The current legal void is costing some workers their jobs and money - and possibly freedom.

It is high time for EU-wide legal whistleblower protection.

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