Yesterday’s ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) calls into question the future of European social dialogue.

The ECJ ruled on an appeal by EPSU, the European Federation of Public Service Unions, to contest a judgement of October 2019, that effectively gives the European Commission a free hand in deciding whether or not to transmit a European social partner agreement to the Council for legislative implementation.

The original case was brought by EPSU to complain against the European Commission’s refusal to submit a social partner agreement on information and consultation rights for public administration workers to the Council for a decision on incorporation into EU law.

The ETUC is now seeking an urgent meeting with the European Commission to seek clarity and confirm a process that ensures that social partner agreements can progress into EU law and be adopted as EU directives as the EU treaties envisage.

Luc Triangle, industriAll Europe General Secretary:

“The decision of the Court is alarming. It undermines the autonomy of the European social partners and creates uncertainty for the results of social dialogue in the future. Trade unions are shocked to see the ECJ disregarding social dialogue when it has proved its value in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. It is in all our interests to bolster social dialogue as a central element for Europe’s economic recovery and a successful green and digital transformation, and not to weaken its foundations.”

IndustriAll Europe stands together with EPSU and the millions of public administration workers who have been denied basic information and consultation rights.

IndustriAll Europe fully supports the ETUC in contacting the European Commission to seek legal clarity and to put in place a new process that ensures that social partner agreements can become legally binding, as provided by the EU treaties.

Court of Justice of the European Union press release: EN, DE, FR
Contact: Andrea Husen-Bradley (press and communication)