Written Answer to a Question: Ryanair pilots’ right to strike

Written answer given by Ms Thyssen on behalf of the Commission to a question (Rule 130) by Daniela Aiuto (EFDD) on “Ryanair pilots’ right to strike”.

Answer given by Ms Thyssen on behalf of the Commission

As the Commission pointed out in its reply to Written Question E-8980/13E-11517/15 and E-6157/2017, the right to strike is enshrined in Article 28 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and in Article 6 of the European Social Charter. It is also protected by Article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights on freedom of assembly and association and by the International Labour Office (ILO) core labour standard convention 87 on freedom of association, ratified by all EU Member States. Moreover, commitments on this ILO core labour standard are part of the new generation of EU Free Trade Agreements with third countries. Therefore, when adopting measures under national laws, the EU Member States have to respect, promote and effectively implement core labour standards, also as part of the EU free trade agreements.

EU Member States commitments under the Council of Europe obligations have to respect the European Convention of Human Rights and the European Social Charter ratified by all EU Member States.

There is no Union law specifically governing the conditions of the exercise of the right of association or collective bargaining. As per Article 153(5) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the provisions of that Article relating to social policy shall not apply to the right to strike. It is primarily the national authorities, including the national courts, who are responsible for laying down and enforcing the right to collective action.

In its Aviation Strategy the Commission pays particular attention to the social dimension of air transport. The EU social dialogue plays an important role and has the full support of the Commission.

Question for written answer P-007736/2017
to the Commission
Rule 130
Daniela Aiuto (EFDD)

Subject: Ryanair pilots’ right to strike
The right to strike is enshrined in Article 28 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which has become legally binding under the Lisbon Treaty. As specified respectively in paragraphs 44 and 91 of the ‘Viking’ and ‘Laval’ cases of the European Court of Justice, the right to take collective action, including the right to strike, must be recognised as a fundamental right which forms an integral part of the general principles of Community law, the observance of which the Court ensures.
Even though the right to strike is guaranteed both by supranational EU law and by Article 40 of the Italian Constitution, the low-cost airline Ryanair has recently prohibited its Italian employees from exercising this right; these workers, according to a letter sent by the Ryanair head of personnel, now risk being subjected to disciplinary measures if they join the strike planned for 15 December 2017.
In the Commission’s view:
– are the Ryanair measures not in breach of the principles concerning the right to strike enshrined in EU law?
– Are these measures not incompatible with the EU objectives described in the Commission’s Communication of 8 June 2017, according to which the European aviation sector must remain strong, competitive and sustainable and directly benefit EU citizens and workers?

Source: European Parliament

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