Nieuw AIAS WP: Collective redress and workers’ rights in the EU

Working Paper WP 118

Jan Cremers (AIAS) & Martin Bulla (Guest at AIAS September-December 2011, Trnava University, Faculty of Law,
Department of Labour Law and Social Security Law)


This Working Paper examines the issue of collective redress as a possible way to defend workers’ rights in the EU. Since the implementation of the internal market and the development of the Community acquis trade unions and the workers they represent in Europe are confronted with the question how to defend workers’ rights that can be derived from EU law, especially in a cross-border context. Although in theory it is often claimed that foreign workers have access to justice and can address to local courts like any other worker the practice is rather patchy.

In the first exploratory contribution Jan Cremers describes the latest developments in the European Union related to the cross-border enforcement of workers’ rights. The notion of collective redress is introduced with a short explanation of the position of the trade unions. After an exploration of practical experiences the article ends with an overview of challenges and open questions that have led to further desktop research.

Martin Bulla investigated whether collective redress can provide a possible way of improvement of judicial enforcement of posted workers’ rights vested in the Posting of Workers Directive (Directive 96/71/EC). The contribution starts with the most significant problems posted workers are facing, followed by an overview of basic types of collective redress procedures as well as differences in approaches to legal regulation in countries. EU initiatives dealing with the issue of collective redress mainly related to consumer law are examined and existing legal instruments are addressed with a view to a possible use for enhancement of posted workers’ rights. Finally an overview of ways of applying redress procedures under the existing legislation is followed by proposals concerning a better functioning of collective redress in respect to posted workers.

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