The Finnish Parliament has taken a dim view of a proposal by the European Commission that would have affected the right to strike on a national level within the European Union. Two Finnish parliamentary committees feel that these are matters that are up to the member states, and that the EU should not interfere.
The Commission’s proposal would oblige EU countries to inform the Commission about looming industrial action that might transcend national borders. In the Commission’s view such conflicts could pose a threat to the functioning of the internal market.
“Advance supervision is a sensitive question. If we start to automatically give notice to the Commission that our harbours might be going on strike, it might be legally difficult to define what part of it is national and what is cross-border”, says Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (SDP), the chairwoman of the Grand Committee.
Kumpula-Natri says that the proposed procedure would lead to a situation in which the Commission would get the right to consider whether or not a strike is in correct proportion to its causes. She feels that this alone would transfer much jurisdiction to the EU.
The Commission’s proposal is linked with two Nordic industrial actions from a few years ago in which the right to strike was pitted against the free movement of services and the right of corporations to move freely within the EU.
The EU Court gave a ruling on the legality of these strikes in 2007, but the Commission decided later to add clarity to the situation.
The Grand Committee of the Finnish Parliament agreed on Friday that the Commission’s proposal brings no clarity at all, and can amount to a clear restriction of workers’ rights.
Parliament’s Committee on Work and Equality voiced the view earlier that the Commission’s proposal might endanger national systems for resolving labour disputes.
The Finnish Parliament will submit a statement on the matter to EU bodies if Parliament passes a statement on the proposal on Tuesday.
The Commission’s proposal requires the unanimous consent of the member states. According to Kumpula-Natri, the proposal has been criticised in many other countries as well.