Laval case: disappointment of the ETUC

Brussels, 18/12/07

The decision contains positive features such as upholding in community law the right to strike as a fundamental right and a union’s right to take industrial action against social dumping. On these points it confirms and strengthens last week’s ECJ decision in the Viking case.

Our disappointment is focused on the challenge it poses to the very successful flexible Swedish system of collective bargaining and those of certain other Nordic countries – the models for flexicurity currently being promoted by the European Commission. It will necessitate reviews in those countries of the implementation of the posted workers directive.

There could be negative implications for other countries’ systems from this narrow interpretation of the posted workers’ directive. There could also be implications for unions’ ability to promote equal treatment and protection of workers regardless of nationality and there will also be concern that unions’ ability to guarantee these objectives is threatened by the free movement of services principle.

We will now be studying the details of the case carefully.