Social Progress Protocol / ECJ rulings
SOCIAL PROGRESS PROTOCOL
Collective action can be broadly defined as situations of concerted work stoppage. The right to take collective action is a fundamental right. It is the corollary of the right to negotiate and conclude collective agreements. Whilst the conditions for the exercise of the right of collective action are defined at national level, the reasons which lead trade unions to envisage collective action often exceed national borders. The increasing mobility of companies in an enlarged internal market can, in the absence of meaningful social dialogue, and the appropriate regulation be a threat to workers’ protection throughout Europe.
In the Laval and Viking cases, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has reinforced the superiority of economic freedoms over fundamental social rights and made the exercise of the right of collective bargaining and action subject to considerable restrictions. These judgments are not only denying trade unions equality of arms vis-à-vis European businesses; they also violate fundamental rights as protected by national constitutions and legislation, by Art. 28 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and numerous international instruments.
The ETUC is urging the European authorities to confirm that the EU is not just an economic project but has as its main objective the improvement of living and working conditions of its populations, and that the concept of social progress is of fundamental importance for keeping the support of Europe’s citizens and workers for the European project. The ETUC is pressing the case for a Social Progress Protocol in the EU Treaties to underline this point.
More information on the Rulings of the European Court of Justice (ECJ)