The protection of the right to strike within the European Union: evaluating the degree of the labour law harmonisation and the state of the European social model

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Bideaux, Mathilde
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One of the main intention of the European Union is to create a proper social model based on good economic performance, high levels of social protection, education and social dialogue. Due to the complexity to commonly define the social area, the Union shall share or be excluded in social affairs. The right to strike, broadly understood as a concerted work stoppage of the employees to support professional claims, has remained one of the most complex rights to define from a comparative law perspective. Its inherent psychological and social conceptions have made it very difficult to agree on a single conception. Such a right has represented the logic of the European Union towards the social area as it has been elevated as a fundamental right but the competence of the European Union has been excluded. The current jurisprudences before the Court of Justice of the European Union has confirmed this legal view. However, the right to strike may constitute a fundamental right but shall not impede the exercise of economic freedoms. Social rights have, consequently, appeared to be restrictions that the users should justify. Trade unions have demanded that the European Union serve not only technical needs and economic interests. Faced with these tensions through the right to strike and its effective application in the European zone, we can wonder : How does the right to strike represent the state of the harmonisation of labour law within the European Union and, broadly, the degree of progress of the European social model?
Second semester University: Université Libre de Bruxelles
labour law, European Union, right to strike