EUROPEAN REVIEW

European Review logo

ISSUE 74 page 6

Euromap  cyprus= Croatia Switzerland Iceland Serbia Russia Turkey Norway Slovenia Ireland Sweden Portugal Spain Belgium Germany Poland Italy Greece Czech Republic Austria France Denmark Netherlands Finland Estonia Malta Hungary Ukraine Slovakia Latvia Luxembourg Lithuania Romania Bulgaria Albania Macedonia Moldova Liechtenstein

Choose a country to take your mouse,clicking on most will show an article on that country

Swedes keep to EU law as they tear up ‘Lex Laval’

Following the famous European Court of Justice (ECJ) Laval/Vaxholm decision Sweden was obliged to pass new national laws which prohibited unions from taking action against employers of foreign labour if they abided by industry agreements that guaranteed certain minimum standards. Now the new centre-left government intends to abolish the legislation. We look at what they aim to put in its place.

The intention of the new law is to give ‘better trade union control over posted workers’ terms and conditions’ according to the chair of the Posted Workers Committee, Social Democrat MP, Marie Granlund, ‘It also improves posted workers’ chances of in the very least enjoying Swedish minimum terms’. The proposals will create a ‘posted workers collective agreement’ on which trade unions can demand negotiation from a foreign employer. They can also insist on seeing documentation if the employer asserts that they already comply with minimum terms and conditions. On behalf of the workers themselves the new law will allow access to Swedish courts to enforce these minima even if they are not union members. Better rights in the case of workplace injuries and insurance will also be reinforced. If no union has submitted demands for a posted workers’ agreement in a particular trade the Work Environment Authority will decide what are the accepted minimum standards in that industry. Although business groups have criticised the new proposals on the grounds that they give too much power to the unions and restrict freedom of movement, Ms. Granlund has ‘not noticed any major conflicts within the committee, and I hope the centre-right parties think again’. She feels that the national legislation can be amended: ‘We should fight for what we feel is important, not blindly accept what the EU law says’ but affirms that the new proposals make ‘it easier to predict what is needed during a posting to Sweden’ and ‘are also compatible with EU law’. It seems that this development added to the recent ECJ decision from Finland (see issue 71) may mark a continued ‘nibbling away’ of the original ill effects of the Laval judgement.

 

Recent rulings from the European Courts

Once again: ‘work emails are not private’
‘Constructive redundancies’ do exist
A case from Romania heard at the European Court of Human Rights once again underlines the warning to workers that no Internet communications made from work can be considered private. Mr.Barbulescu was sacked by a company in Bucharest in 2007 for using a Yahoo Messenger account provided by the employer for private purposes. He contended that by accessing his account they had breached article 8 of the European Convention which guarantees ‘respect for his private and family life’. However the court found that the firm acted reasonably in checking an account which they owned and was meant for professional usage. This judgement follows previous ones from Germany and the U.K., as well as a case from Sweden concerning Facebook (see issue 49), in confirming the need for employees to treat all work communications as being available to their boss. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady commented ‘It is essential that employers have clear policies on internet use so that people are not caught out’.
Spanish gym worker Cristian Pujante Rivera was made redundant in 2013 together with 9 other employees of the Gestora fitness chain. The firm claimed that there was no need for an information and consultation procedure under the EU directive as less than 10% of its 126 workers had been involved. However Mr.Rivera contended that 12 temporary staff should not be included in the count and that one member of staff who had resigned had really been made redundant because the company had tried to cut her pay by 25%. Together with one dismissal for disciplinary reasons which Gestora admitted was unfair, total redundancies were therefore 12 out of 114. The ECJ’s Advocate General disputed the numbers but agreed on the principle. Fixed-term workers must be included, he said, because if their contract had been ended prematurely they would also have been considered redundant. However the pay cut had amounted to ‘constructive redundancy’.




Top of page

 

 


 

 cyprus= Croatia Switzerland Iceland Serbia Russia Turkey Norway Slovenia Ireland Sweden Portugal Spain Belgium Germany Poland Italy Greece Czech Republic Austria France Denmark Netherlands Finland Estonia Malta Hungary Ukraine Slovakia Latvia Luxembourg Lithuania Romania Bulgaria Albania Macedonia Moldova Liechtenstein