What Implications for the ‘European Social Model’?
Edited by Marie-Ange Moreau
Chapter 13: Toward a De-fundamentalisation of Collective Labour Rights in European Social Law?
13. Toward a de-fundamentalisation of collective labour rights in European social law? Antonio Lo Faro INTRODUCTION A sort of double antithesis is emerging within the juridical representation of Europe. Social rights v. Economic freedoms is the first; Individual employment rights v. Collective labour rights is the second. Whereas many comments have been devoted to the former, scarce attention has been given to the latter. Though, a certain degradation of collective labour rights is precisely one of the main side-effects of the new ‘post-enlargement’ jurisprudence steadily put forward by the European Court in cases such as Laval, Viking and Rüffert. A streak of cases which seems to be further prolonged by the recent Germany case,1 an infringement procedure – addressed to a German law allowing to award service contracts related to occupational pensions to bodies designated by collective agreements – which the Court decided according to the statement that ‘the exercise of the fundamental right to bargain collectively must [therefore] be reconciled with the requirements stemming from the freedoms protected by the FEU Treaty’. Most probably, it was not by mere chance that the lesser status of social rights vis-à-vis economic freedoms has been stated by the Court precisely in cases where a collective aspect of the labour relations was at stake: the right to strike in the two ‘Nordic’ cases; the right to collective bargaining 1 Case C-271/08 of 15 July 2010, European Commission v. Federal Republic of Germany. Having recalled that ‘the terms of collective agreements are not...
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