Building bridges between academia and the trade union movement
The Transnational Trade Union Rights Experts Network (TTUR) is a network consisting of eleven leading European labour law experts – Niklas Bruun (Stockholm and Helsinki Universities), Klaus Lörcher (former legal secretary at the European Union Civil Service Tribunal), Thomas Blanke (Oldenburg University), Simon Deakin (Cambridge University), Filip Dorssemont (Université Catholique de Louvain), Antoine Jacobs (Tilburg University), Csilla Kollonay-Lehoczky (Eötvös Loránd University and Central European University, Budapest), Mélanie Schmitt (University of Strasbourg), Bruno Veneziani (University of Bari), Aristea Koukiadaki (University of Manchester), Barbara Kresal (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia) – and coordinated by Stefan Clauwaert (ETUI).
The TTUR Network has focused so far on research in European Labour Law stressing the link to fundamental social rights. In this context, it has elaborated four main publications: ‘ EU Charter of Fundamental Rights’ in 2006, ‘Lisbon Treaty and Social Europe’ in 2012, ‘The European Convention on Human Rights and the Employment relation’ in 2013 and ‘The economic crisis and the collective labour law’ in 2014.
The latest TTUR publication addresses the issue ‘ The European Social Charter and the employment relations’, exploring the increasing potential of the European Social Charter in strengthening fundamental social rights in the EU. Indeed, the European Social Charter is the most developed human rights instrument in the social field at European level. In legal terms, developments in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) as in the Demir and Baykara judgment have confirmed, consolidated and applied a judicial interpretation method that strengthens references to international instruments and the interpretation of the competent organs, and in particular to the (Revised) European Social Charter. Further, important legal developments concern the jurisprudence of the European Committee of Social Rights itself. Not only the latest decisions of the European Committee of Social Rights on the crisis (Decisions of 23 May 2012 on the merits of cases No. 65/2011 and 66/2011 as well as Decisions of 7 December 2012 of cases No. 76 to 80/2012), the consequences of the Laval judgment (Decision of 3 July 2013 on the merits of case No. 85/2012 - Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) and Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees (TCO) v. Sweden) and the extension of the right to strike (to police in Decision of 2 December 2013 on the admissibility of case No. 83/2012 and the merits - EuroCOP) v. Ireland) demonstrate the increasing awareness. Moreover, there is the impact on EU law. This is demonstrated by the references in EU primary law (5th recital of the TEU Preamble, Article 151(1) TFEU, 5th recital of the CFREU Preamble) but on the other hand also by the jurisprudence examining EU secondary legislation on its compatibility with the Charter’s requirements. Finally, it should not be overlooked, that all Council of Europe Member States (with the exception of Lichtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland) have ratified either the European Social.
FUNDAMENTAL SOCIAL RIGHTS MANIFESTO
In 2014, in the context of the European elections, the TTUR organised a campaign urging European Union leaders to respect fundamental social rights in their anti-crisis policies and calling upon European citizens to make their voice heard in the EP elections.
More than 590 social and labour lawyers signed this manifesto urging the EU to respect and promote fundamental social rights in respect of all crisis-related measures.
Social dialogue and traditional labour law are increasingly subject to radical pressure at both national and EU level through anti-crisis measures. A comprehensive overview of how the Eurozone crisis is being used to deregulate existing labour laws and undermine collective bargaining systems in most European countries can be found in the recent publication ‘The crisis and national labour law reforms: a mapping exercise’ published by the ETUI (with regular country-by-country updates).
The ILO Committee of Freedom of Association as well as the European Committee of Social Rights of the Council of Europe have respectively found violations of fundamental social rights in austerity measures taken in Greece over the last two years within the framework of the international loan mechanism agreed upon with the Troika composed of the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF.
These international and European signals of disapproval of the European Union’s anti-social policies are of the utmost importance. Mobilisation in Europe should accompany such strong signals and, in particular, grave concern should be expressed about the austerity measures taken and their consequences.
Members of the Transnational Trade Union Rights Experts Network (TTUR) therefore drafted a Manifesto with the intention of raising awareness about these developments and call upon the European Union to respect and promote fundamental social rights particularly as regards crisis-related measures. They have organised this forum/platform for other European labour and social academic experts to join and voice their deep concerns and disagreement.
Number of signatories for this campaign: 595
Florian Rödl and Raphaël Callsen
Edited by Filip Dorssemont, Klaus Lörcher and Isabelle Schömann
Niklas Bruun, Klaus Lörcher, Isabelle Schömann
Niklas Bruun (University of Helsinki), Klaus Lörcher (former Legal Adviser to the ETUC) and Isabelle Schömann (ETUI)
Isabelle Schömann (ETUI) , Stefan Clauwaert (ETUI)