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European Court of Justice limits right of labor unions to strike

[JURIST] The European Court of Justice (ECJ) [official website] Tuesday ruled [opinion;press release, PDF] that labor unions can try to prevent employers from hiring cheaper labor from other EU countries, but limited workers' right to strike. The court found that workers were entitled to strike to protect existing jobs or to preserve existing employment conditions, but that they could not prevent companies from moving to new bases of operation.

The case arose from an attempt by a Finnish ferry company to take advantage of cheaper Estonian workers by redesignating one of its ships as part of an Estonian fleet, a move opposed by unionized Finnish workers. The International Transport Workers’ Federation [union website] brought the case in England, and the English court asked the ECJ for help in interpreting EU law. The ECJ ruled that striking is legal "only if it pursues a legitimate aim such as the protection of workers." AP has more.

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