Fundamental Social Rights in Europe: Challenges and Opportunities
This volume offers a lawyer's view on the meaning of fundamental social rights in today's Europe. It is published on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the European Working Group (EWL) on labor law, and it reflects the research efforts the members of the EWL have made in its 10 years of existence. The recognition of fundamental social rights offers opportunities for valuing the meaning of such rights for workers. The non-discrimination norm, since it has been long and widely recognized in EU law, is the most striking example. It has served as a catalyst for all Member States. Apart from that, fundamental social rights, as generally recognized by international organizations, are also challenged in EU law. This is not only because the EU law does not explicitly grant protection to workers since some of these rights are not covered by it, but also due to a potential collision between these rights and the fundamental freedoms of the European Community. In this volume, experts in the field of European labor law deal with the opportunities EU law is offering and how it is fitting into the social policy of the EU, as well as with potential threats to an effective application of the fundamental social rights. Some of the contributions refer to the cases of Viking, Laval, and R?ffert as to their impact on the right to collective action, as well as their meaning for the establishment of decent employment conditions, and in particular the right to a decent wage which is one of the oldest fundamental social rights. Another crucial issue that is touched upon is the right to work and the right of protection for workers. The objective that is advocated in the EU, as a cornerstone of modern social policy, is the combination of flexibility and security, in one word "flexicurity," which has been analyzed in terms of contributing to or jeopardizing the position of the employee. It is the supposed dilemma of the protection of the 'haves' at the expense of the 'have nots' or 'insiders versus outsiders.' A third topic is the fundamental right connected to the freedom of association. A problem that has recently raised a lot of discussion and legislative proposals is whether sufficient representativeness of trade unions is required in order to be legitimized for collective bargaining and the conclusion of binding collective agreements. Linked to this is the effective recognition of the right of participation for workers and their representatives at enterprise level: the right to information and consultation, its scope, and its effect.
Publication Date: 5/17/2009