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Swedish unions impeded Latvians' freedom to offer services - ECJ

brussels bureau

Swedish unions impeded Latvians' freedom to offer services - ECJ


Swedish unions have been found in the wrong by the top EU court for preventing a Latvian construction firm from fulfilling a contract in Sweden. They blockaded Laval un Partneri’s construction sites in late 2004 because Laval was paying its Latvian workers less than the Swedish standard.

The Laval project went bust and its men went home. The European Court of Justice ruled that while unions had the right to take collective action to protect workers, they had infringed on the freedom to provide services across the EU bloc, which was not justified.

The Swedish Employers Confederation welcomed the ruling, saying it gave foreign companies greater legal security in Sweden.

The country’s main union body called for changes to Swedish law to ensure that workers employed by Swedish and foreign companies working in Sweden were bound by the same employment conditions.

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