Magazine article European Social Policy

Collective Agreements : Meps React to Ecj Viking and Laval Rulings

Magazine article European Social Policy

Collective Agreements : Meps React to Ecj Viking and Laval Rulings

Article excerpt

Is the freedom to provide services one of the key principles of the EU? Should this be balanced against the Union's fundamental rights standards and social objectives? Members of the European Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs believe that the answer to both questions is yes'. By adopting, on 22 September, an own-initiative report by Jan Andersson (PES, Sweden) entitled Challenges to collective agreements in the EU', they reacted to the verdicts handed out by the EU Court of Justice in the Laval, Viking, Ruffert and Luxemburg cases.

In December 2007, the ECJ found that certain collective actions, undertaken by a Swedish and a Finnish trade union, implied a restriction on the freedom of establishment and ruled in favour of Viking and Laval. The committee now argues that the free movement of services does not contradict or override the fundamental rights of the social partners. The report(1) also underlines the importance of the principle of free movement of workers and equal treatment.

Directive 96/71/EC on the posting of workers allows public authorities and social partners to look for terms and conditions of employment which are more favourable to workers in accordance with the different traditions in the member states. But, as the MEPs point out, the legal basis of the directive should be broadened to include a reference to the free movement of workers. The directive's stipulations on working conditions, pay levels and equal treatment should be reviewed, the report says. …

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