The ETUC wants a new EU Treaty

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EU must guarantee the right to strike
The judgement of the European Court of Justice in the so-called Vaxholm case proves that the present EU Treaty does not guarantee the right to strike. This might be revised by the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty, and the right to strike thus including the protection which is necessary for blue-collar workers and white-collar workers in Europe to guard themselves against social dumping.

This statement was made by the Executive Committee of European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) when meeting in Brussels in early March.

- The so-called Vaxholm judgement shows that EU legislation does not comply with the ILO’s demands on the right to strike. This is unreasonable, Wanja Lundby-Wedin, President of ETUC as well as of LO, says.

The message of the judgement is that the right to strike is indeed considered to be fundamental within the EU, but the free mobility of workers has higher status. The ETUC questions how Europe, which expects other countries to comply with the ILO conventions, has regulations which contravene these very same conventions.

The judgement of the Vaxholm case shows that the consequences that will follow, will have repercussions not only on the Swedish labour market but also on labour markets in the other EU member states.

- We cannot accept a system in Europe which signifies that workers run the risk of having inferior working conditions and wages because they are from another country. If the union is to defend people’s right to be treated equally in the European labour market, the union must have the possibility of resorting to strikes, Wanja Lundby-Wedin says.

The ETUC wants to see a special clause, as supplement to the Lisbon Treaty, in which this is made clear, in order to expressly lay down that the EU regulations on free mobility in the future are interpreted in such a way that fundamental human rights are respected.

The ETUC made the decision to, at the earliest possible date, call on the EU Commission with a proposal on the wording of such a clause.