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Wave of strikes after UK ’Laval Case’
Wildcat strikes are now spreading across the UK after a dispute at Lindsey Oil Refinery in Lincolnshire. The refinery is owned by the French oil company Total, which employs the American engineering company Jacobs, which in its turn subcontracts construction engineering works to an Italian firm IREM, which uses its own Italian and Portuguese workers to cut wage costs. Trade unions point out that the undercutting of wage levels in collective agreements has been justified by the Laval and Viking judgments in the European Court of Justice. Even representatives for the government, e.g. health secretary Alan Johnson, connect the undercutting of labour costs to the recent ECJ rulings. Johnson said that the rulings have “distorted” the intention of the Posting of Workers Directive. TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber called for a changed EU legislation to reverse the effects of the Laval and Viking rulings:

“There is much concern among unions at recent decisions of the European Court of Justice – particularly the Viking-Laval cases – that appear to allow companies to undermine existing pay, working conditions and pensions by moving workforces around Europe in this way. European governments must close this legal loophole that drives a huge hole through social Europe.”

ETUC General Secretary said:

“ETUC is calling for a revised Posting of Workers Directive and a social progress protocol attached to the European Treaties to counter recent adverse decisions of the European Court of Justice which permit employers to ignore established agreements and, in effect, give them a license to undercut wages and conditions.”

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EU Legislation Wood
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