Ten years after the disastrous anti-worker Laval ruling by the European Court of Justice – on 18 December 2007 – the European Trade Union Confederation says the European Pillar of Social Rights obliges the EU to repair the damage caused.
The ruling held that a Latvian company, operating in Laval, was not required to provide its workers posted to Sweden with working conditions matching the collective agreement in the Swedish construction industry. This ruling severely undermined the principle of equal pay, but it also put the economic freedoms of companies above workers’ rights.
Ten years on, the EU has adopted a European Pillar of Social Rights which is supposed to be about “delivering new and more effective rights for citizens” including “equal opportunities and fair working conditions” (see https://ec.europa.eu/commission/priorities/deeper-and-fairer-economic-and-monetary-union/european-pillar-social-rights_en), and promotes collective bargaining.
“The damage caused by Laval has to be put right,” said ETUC Confederal Secretary Esther Lynch, “with a guarantee of equal pay for equal work and a Social Progress Protocol that states that the purpose of the single market is social progress, and in the event of conflict with economic freedoms and competition rules, social rights come first. The EU has got to fix the damage, reflecting the commitments in the Social Pillar. We are stepping up the pressure on the European Commission to deliver on the promises in the European Pillar of Social Rights. Today, trade unions in Europe are launching an online campaign to let the Commission know that we need an end to social dumping and a European Labour Authority to ensure that employers comply with collective agreements.” https://www.no2socialdumping.eu/en