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The right to strike in Europe

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  1. Introduction
  2. The right to strike in Europe
    1. The right to strike and the European law
    2. Conditions the right to strike
    3. The effects of the strike
  3. Limiting the right to strike in Europe
    1. Limits depending on the status
    2. Limits of units
    3. Limits by sector
  4. The minimum service
    1. United Kingdom: An exception to the rule
    2. Spain and Portugal: A minimum service in the Constitution
    3. Italy: A minimum service for the respect of human rights
    4. France
    5. The countries of Eastern Europe : A minimum service to maintain the production process
  5. Conclusion

'A strike is the name given to a collective movement conducted at the initiative of all or part of the staff of a company, usually intended to compel employers to negotiate working conditions and pay (Law Dictionary). The right to strike presupposes that there is a contract of employment.

Although it is considered "normal" in France, the concept of strike is not present everywhere. Also, although it is recognized in all countries of the European Union, its terms and conditions of exercise are different. Therefore, the question we will discuss today is:

Do all countries of the European Union recognize the right to strike? Are there limits to this right? Does the issue of minimum service exist in other European countries? Finally, what are the major differences in this field between France and the other countries of the European Union?

Firstly, for the sake of brevity and understanding, and due to the lack of information, we will treat the subject by not distinguishing the public sector from the private sector, unless clarification is needed. Also, we will discuss the concept of minimum service which itself is present in the public sector, unless a specification is given. The right to strike exists and is recognized in all countries of the European Union. However, the status and terms of this law are not the same in all countries.

The right to strike and the European law:
The recognition of the right to strike does not take the same form in national legislation. Indeed, there is a European recognition of this right, but not a definition of the terms of coordination, leaving "free field" in each country with respect to defining the right to strike and its limitations.

In the European Union, this right is not recognized in the Treaty establishing the European Community, but it is defined in the European Social Charter (1961) and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Article 28, 2000 ). These two texts are devoted to "the right of workers and employers to collective action in cases of conflict of interest, including strikes."

The Charter of Fundamental Rights also points out the existence of a right to work which must be reconciled with the right to strike. More generally, the right to strike must coexist with other rights and freedoms of European citizens.

The difference in treatment appears on the national level. Indeed, the legislation concerning the right to strike in European countries can be classified into two groups:
-The first includes countries whose constitution recognizes the right to strike, such as France, Spain, Greece or Portugal.
-The second includes countries that recognize the right to strike by law, such as Germany or Belgium.
The UK meanwhile recognizes the right to strike as a free benefit of "legal immunity".

Along with this difference in recognition of the law, there is a difference in the definition of this right. Some countries recognize the right to strike, whereas others, such as the United Kingdom and Sweden, define the broader concept of dispute.

Tags: Right to strike in European countries, trade union strikes, terms of strike

[...] The strike must not interfere with the lives of citizens, as stated in the Spanish case, "the right of the community with vital services has priority over the right to strike." - Reasons for Solidarity. These include strikes which result "in a work stoppage in support of a claim for professional or economic groups different from those who are on strike." In the United Kingdom and Germany, they are simply prohibited. In Spain, they have a specific right when they are related to a justified and adequate professional interest, whether direct or indirect. [...]


[...] The right to strike exists and is recognized in all countries of the European Union. However, the status and terms of this law are not the same in all countries. A. The right to strike and the European law The recognition of the right to strike does not take the same form in national legislation. Indeed, there is a European recognition of this right, but not a definition of the terms of coordination, leaving "free field" in each country with respect to defining the right to strike and its limitations. [...]


[...] The countries of Eastern Europe: A minimum service to maintain the production process Legislation in Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Romania are very similar.Cooperation between trade unions or other organizers of a strike and management of the companies concerned are required to "preserve the property of the employer and to ensure uninterrupted operation and security of certain production processes." In addition to these legal restrictions, some countries put in place a particular instrument to ensure a minimum service. [...]

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