Contribution by Loïc Azoulai to the on-line debate launched by Notre Europe and ETUI on the Viking, Laval and Rüffert ECJ cases
The Court of Justice of the European Communities was asked one question: May a company based in the Union and wishing to exercise its freedom of movement, either to offer its employees’ services in an other Union State (the Laval case) or to settle in a EU State where the salaries are lower (the Viking Line case) contest collective action undertaken by a workforce wishing to impose on the said company the higher salary rates in force in their countries? The Court’s answer is twofold. for one thing, this question does indeed come under its jurisdiction. For another, it is wholly feasible to conciliate economic and social necessities – the freedom of movement the treaty grants enterprises on the one hand and on the other the right to arbitration and collective action, including the right to strike the national constitutions allow workers – without sacrificing either.