Illegal conflict

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Date:
17 Sep 2013

the danish labour court: an industrial conflict which had been duly notified and initiated against an enterprise was illegal

By:
Christian K. Clasen

The Danish Labour Court: An industrial conflict which had been duly notified and initiated against an enterprise was illegal

The Danish Labour Court: An industrial conflict which had been duly notified and initiated against an ‎enterprise was illegal.‎
 
A trade union must have a valid reason for making their demands in collective agreements more ‎rigorous to non-unionised employers than to unionised employers.‎
 
The trade union 3F notified a non-unionised employer in the gardening industry that it would initiate a ‎conflict and secondary action in the form of asking other members of the trade union not to be involved ‎in supplies etc. to the enterprise in order to make the enterprise sign a local agreement to show its ‎willingness to adhere to the applicable nationwide collective agreement. However, some of the terms ‎contained in the adhesion agreement were more rigorous than those of the applicable nationwide ‎collective agreement. The same day, the enterprise applied to become a member of an employer ‎organisation, but was rejected because of the strike notice which had been issued against it by 3F.‎
 
Not wanting to sign the adhesion agreement and its more onerous terms, the enterprise issued ‎proceedings in the Labour Court. 3F then wrote the enterprise that it would be acceptable if the ‎enterprise became a member of the employer organisation and that the enterprise should withdraw the ‎case since there was therefore no longer a dispute between the parties. But the enterprise refused to ‎withdraw the case.‎
 
Illegal and invalid terms
The Labour Court ruled in favour of the enterprise, holding that the conflict which had been duly ‎notified and initiated was illegal since the purpose of the conflict was to force the enterprise to accept ‎terms which were held to be illegal and invalid.‎

 

Norrbom Vinding notes

  • that the ruling illustrates the principle in Danish labour law that when signing a local adhesion ‎agreement, non-unionised employers must have the same rights as unionised employers, ‎unless there is a valid reason in each case for making more rigorous demands to the non-‎unionised employer.‎