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Case Reports

2021/2 Warning strike timing (HU)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2021
Trefwoorden Collective Agreements, Unions, Other Fundamental Rights
Auteurs Zsófia Oláh en Ildikó Rácz
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This case involved an employer who claimed that a trade union organised an unlawful warning strike. The Curia (the highest judicial authority in Hungary) found that the trade union violated its obligation to cooperate with the employer according to Act No. 7 of 1989 on Strikes. The Curia and also the Regional Courts made some clear points on the question of the timing of a warning strike. The employer must be notified of a planned strike in sufficient time, which requirement also applies in the case of warning strikes. The time can be considered as sufficient if the employer is able to fulfil its rights to protect its property, prevent damage resulting from the strike, to carry out its duties to protect life and property, and to organise work accordingly. Failing this obligation, the warning strike is unlawful. The notice shall state the date and time that such action will commence.


Zsófia Oláh
Zsófia Oláh is a Partner at OPL Law Firm.

Ildikó Rácz
Ildikó Rácz is a Junior Associate at OPL Law Firm.

    The High Court (HC) dismissed an application by an employer for an interim injunction to prevent strike action organised by two trade unions, who were demanding parity of treatment for their members as compared to members of another union. It was more likely than not that the two unions would succeed in establishing, at the full trial of the matter, that the statutory protection under UK law for industrial action applied.


Kerry Salisbury
Kerry Salisbury is an Associate at Lewis Silkin LLP.
Case Reports

2018/22 What is a collective agreement? Part two (DK)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 3 2018
Trefwoorden Collective agreements
Auteurs Christian K. Clasen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The Danish Supreme Court has upheld the decision from the Danish Eastern High Court (reported in EELC 2017/26) on the implementation of the Working Time Directive to the effect that an ‘intervention act’ can be deemed to be a collective agreement within the meaning of Article 18 of the Working Time Directive.


Christian K. Clasen
Christian K. Clasen is a partner at Norrbom Vinding, Copenhagen.

    In the aftermath of the ECJ’s ruling in the Asklepios case (C-680/15), the German Federal Employment Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, hereinafter: BAG) held a dynamic referral clause valid following a transfer.


Othmar K. Traber
Othmar K. Traber is a partner at Ahlers & Vogel Rechtsanwälte PartG mbB in Bremen, www.ahlers-vogel.com.

    The Court of Appeal has overruled the recent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision in Efobi – v – Royal Mail [2017] IRLR 956 (reported in EELC 2017/41), restoring the previous position that a claimant in a discrimination case has the initial burden of proof – which ‘shifts’ to the respondent to provide an explanation of why its conduct was non-discriminatory if a prima facie case is proven.
    The Court of Appeal disagreed with Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing’s ruling in Efobi, that section136 of the Equality Act 2010 had made a substantial change to the law when it was introduced, on the basis that it could not be fair that a respondent should have to discharge the burden of proof without the claimant first showing that there is a case to be answered. Lord Singh ruled that it could not have been Parliament’s intention to remove this initial burden of proof when it enacted the Equality Act.


Kayleigh Williams
Kayleigh Williams is a paralegal at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    The Czech Supreme Court has given guidance on the limits to employees’ free speech. Employees must not engage in any conduct, even outside working hours, that could actually or potentially damage their employer’s business. Any criticism of an employer must be based on facts and not be misleading or defamatory. Inappropriate or unjustified criticism may lead to immediate termination of employment.


Anna Diblíková
Anna Diblíková is an attorney at Noerr in Prague, www.noerr.com.
Case Reports

2017/26 What is a collective agreement? (DK)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 3 2017
Trefwoorden Collective labour law, Collective agreements
Auteurs Christian K. Clasen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    On 2 June 2017, the Danish Eastern High Court decided that a statutory intervention by government was sufficient to enable derogation from the Working Time Directive (2003/88). The Directive can be derogated from by a collective agreement and although the statutory intervention was not a collective agreement, the High Court found that it was not inconsistent with that requirement.


Christian K. Clasen
Christian K. Clasen is a partner at Norrbom Vinding, Copenhagen.

    This case report concerns the lawfulness of a notified boycott against Holship Norge AS (‘Holship’) by the Norwegian Transport Workers’ Union (‘NTF’). In its decision, the Supreme Court considered whether the collective agreement exemption from competition law could be applied, and whether the boycott was unlawful pursuant to the right to freedom of establishment established by Article 31 of the EEA Agreement, cf. Article 101 of the Constitution and Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
    The boycott would prevent Holship’s staff from loading and unloading ships docked at the Port of Drammen. NTF’s purpose was to force Holship to enter into a collective agreement containing a priority of engagement clause, reserving loading and unloading work for dockworkers associated with the Administration Office for Dock Work in Drammen. The majority of the plenary Supreme Court found (10-7) that such boycott would be unlawful pursuant to section 2 of the Boycott Act. The dissent concerns the EEA rules.


Kurt Weltzien
Kurt Weltzien is a lawyer in NHO, which is the main representative organisation for Norwegian employers. He has a PhD on the thesis “Boycott in labour conflicts”. Kurt Weltzien also represented NHO in the Supreme Court in the case discussed in this case report.

Anne-Beth Engan
Anne-Beth Engan is an associate with Advokatfirmaet Selmer DA in Oslo.
Case Reports

2017/12 Court of Appeal rejects argument that Christmas strikes are unlawful under EU law (UK)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 2 2017
Trefwoorden Collective labour law, industrial actions, unions
Auteurs Vince Toman en David Hopper
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The Court of Appeal has confirmed that industrial action called with the object or purpose of infringing the cross-border freedom to establish and receive services would be unlawful. It rejected the argument that industrial action would be unlawful if it made it unattractive for foreign companies to operate in the UK or if cross-border services might potentially be disrupted. These wider tests would be inconsistent with European case law on the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’) and would be incompatible with proper protection of the right to strike.


Vince Toman

David Hopper
Vince Toman and David Hopper are respectively Head of the Trade Union and Collective Employment Law Group and Senior Associate at Lewis Silkin LLP.

    A pregnant employee with no valid work permit in France does not benefit from protective legal provisions forbidding or restraining her termination.


Claire Toumieux

Susan Ekrami
Claire Toumieux and Susan Ekrami are a partner and associate with Allen & Overy LLP in Paris, www.allenovery.com.
Case Reports

2017/9 The influence of the threat of terrorism on the right to strike (NL)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2017
Trefwoorden Industrial action, Strike
Auteurs Ruben Houweling en Amber Zwanenburg
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The Dutch Cantonal judge prohibited a strike because the safety of passengers could not be guaranteed. At the hearing, which took place a few days after the Berlin Christmas market attacks, weight was given to the threat of terrorism. Nor is this the first time the threat of terrorism has been explicitly referred to by a Dutch court in a case concerning the right to strike.


Ruben Houweling
Ruben Houweling and Amber Zwanenburg are respectively a professor and a lecturer of Labour Law at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Amber Zwanenburg
Case Reports

2016/10 Associative victimisation claim allowed to proceed (UK)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2016
Trefwoorden associative victimisation, degree of association required in associative discrimination, no reasonable prospect of success
Auteurs Anna Bond
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The Employment Appeal Tribunal (‘EAT’) has allowed a claim of ‘associative victimisation’ to proceed, reversing an Employment Tribunal (‘ET’) judge’s decision to strike it out. Victimisation occurs where someone is subjected to a detriment because of a ‘protected act’ (such as alleging discrimination). In this case, the claimant claimed he had been subjected to a detriment because someone else associated with him had alleged discrimination. The second ET judge to hear the case held that there was not a close enough connection between the claimant and those who made the allegation of discrimination, and struck out the claim. The EAT held that the judge was wrong to find that Mr Thompson was required to show some particular relationship to the person whose protected act was relied upon, and in fact the association could be entirely in the mind of the employer. Association will be a question of fact in each case.
    This was the first case in the UK to find that it is possible to bring a claim of victimisation by association, and could represent a significant development in UK discrimination law.


Anna Bond
Anna Bond is an associate at Lewis Silkin LLP: www.lewissilkin.com.

    A 60-year old widow with a house but without income other than a small widow’s pension has successfully challenged legislation that moved the qualification age for state pension benefits from 65 to 67. A court has found that, in her particular case, the legislation constitutes an “individual and excessive burden” within the meaning of ECtHR case law on the First Protocol to the ECHR. The government was ordered to start paying the widow state pension from age 65 despite and contrary to the wording of the law.


Peter Vas Nunes
Peter Vas Nunes is an advocaat with BarentsKrans in The Hague, www.barentskrans.nl.
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