Strike Rules in the EU 27

Submitted by carolyn on Thu, 15/11/2007 - 16:37

The Institute has always argued that the right to strike is a fundamental, basic right. It is a freedom enshrined in international law and enjoyed – to various degrees – by most workers across the globe.

This report, produced by the European Trade Union Institute in 2007, provides an interesting and useful overview of the different legal frameworks covering the right to strike across Europe.

The Introduction to the report as produced by the Author is copied below and the full report is downloadable here

In the context of globalisation capital is moving increasingly across borders. As industry in the European Union takes advantage of the possibilities created by the internal market, so trans-national transactions become everyday occurrences. If the European trade union movement too wishes to take up the challenge represented by mobility and movement of services and production in the internal market, the obvious answer, in the case of labour disputes, is to take collective action across the border.

Collective action is, still today, very much linked to the highly specific national industrial relations systems. As such, it is regulated almost exclusively by national rules (legislation, collective agreements and case law), which means that the first step taken by trade unions
in Europe is to act within the national “legislative” boundaries, while seeking to coordinate national actions on a trans-national scale in such a way that they acquire a European impact.

Under these circumstances, it is hardly surprising that increasing requests have been received for information about the kinds of action possible under specific national regulations. Existing comparative material on the topic dates back at least ten years, so that it does not include the new Member States. The idea underlying this publication was,
accordingly, to assemble up-to-date information on the rules governing collective action in the different EU Member States.

In no way can this report be regarded as exhaustive. It is, rather, a first short overview of the national situations: what types of action exist in the different countries? Are they lawful? What kinds of restriction or procedural requirement have to be taken into
consideration when taking collective action? What are the effects on the workers in the different countries? The report provides a first brief comparative analysis, including a glossary, followed by information on the national systems in the EU27 and beyond.

Information for this report was collected from wide-ranging written sources and checked and amended by the national legal experts of the NETLEX. We are very grateful to our colleagues for their quick and valuable input.
Wiebke Warneck
ETUI-REHS Researcher
March 2007

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