European court ruling on minimum wage criticised

Trade unions and politicians have expressed disappointment over a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on minimum pay which ‘undermines workers rights’.

The ECJ ruled that a Swedish trade union had no right to force a Latvian company (Laval) operating in Sweden to pay its workers a locally-determined minimum wage.

The court backed Laval, and said that because no minimum pay levels are set by Swedish law, the trade unions had no right to force the Latvian company to pay its workers a locally-determined wage.

Jean Lambert, London’s Green MEP, who is one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament, said: “[The] ruling by the ECJ opens the door for wage dumping in the EU and is a blow for workers rights. Wage agreements are legitimate and effective instruments for guaranteeing minimum working standards in many EU countries. However, the ECJ is basically saying that trades unions, which have entered into these agreements, have no means if ensuring they are enforced. This ruling strikes at the very heart of employment rights in the EU.”