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The right to undertake industrial actions against an employer already bound by a collective agreement - An analysis in the light of the conflict in the port of Gothenburg

Stigmar, Axel LU (2018) HARP23 20181
Department of Business Law
Abstract
The aim of the thesis is to analyse the right to undertake industrial actions and freedom of association, especially in the case where a collective agreement already is in place. The thesis applies mainly three perspectives: a national, an international and lastly one with the concrete use of the ongoing conflict in the port of Gothenburg. To achieve the aim a legal dogmatic method is applied.

The conflict in Gothenburg concerns the complex situation where the employer is bound by a collective agreement with Transport, but the third party, Hamnfyran, undertakes actions to attain a collective agreement of their own. Using the report from the mediators, the underlying problems and discussed solutions to the conflict are described. As... (More)
The aim of the thesis is to analyse the right to undertake industrial actions and freedom of association, especially in the case where a collective agreement already is in place. The thesis applies mainly three perspectives: a national, an international and lastly one with the concrete use of the ongoing conflict in the port of Gothenburg. To achieve the aim a legal dogmatic method is applied.

The conflict in Gothenburg concerns the complex situation where the employer is bound by a collective agreement with Transport, but the third party, Hamnfyran, undertakes actions to attain a collective agreement of their own. Using the report from the mediators, the underlying problems and discussed solutions to the conflict are described. As result, the thesis lays down that the case law from the Labour Court consistently rule equivalent actions as lawful and thus that the legal positon is unproblematic. It is also established that the occurrence of industrial actions against employers already bound by another collective agreement not are a commonality. Further, the thesis describes the unusual occasions the government historically has interfered in the social partners’ otherwise sacred autonomy to undertake industrial actions.

Additionally, an international perspective is described. The section scrutinizes the rights within EU, ECHR and ILO. It is concluded that the right to strike is one of the most essential ways to secure freedom of association, but not the only one. Every country has a wide margin to ensure the regulations within the conventions. A union must however have the possibility to be recognized. Further on, these international obligations are applied in a reasoning of de lega ferenda when discussing a potential future restriction of the right to undertake industrial actions. In this reasoning, a principle of proportionality, a rule of representation and a restriction of third party’s right to take action are discussed with consideration of all three perspectives. The thesis also concludes that there in fact are a fair number of potential solutions to the conflict in Gothenburg within today’s legislation, and thus it is questioned whether a restriction is necessary at all. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Syftet med föreliggande masteruppsats är att redogöra för och analysera rätten att vidta stridsåtgärder samt föreningsfrihet, i synnerhet i situationer då arbetsgivaren redan är bunden av kollektivavtal. I huvudsak kommer tre perspektiv att tillämpas; ett internationellt, ett nationellt samt ett med användande av den pågående konflikten i Göteborgs hamn. För att uppnå syftet har en rättsdogmatisk metod tillämpats.

Konflikten i Göteborgs Hamn utgörs av en situation där arbetsgivaren är bunden av kollektivavtal med Transport, medan tredje part, Hamnfyran, vidtar stridsåtgärder för att få till stånd ett eget kollektivavtal. Med hjälp av medlarnas rapport beskrivs den bakomliggande problematiken i konflikten samt de lösningar som... (More)
Syftet med föreliggande masteruppsats är att redogöra för och analysera rätten att vidta stridsåtgärder samt föreningsfrihet, i synnerhet i situationer då arbetsgivaren redan är bunden av kollektivavtal. I huvudsak kommer tre perspektiv att tillämpas; ett internationellt, ett nationellt samt ett med användande av den pågående konflikten i Göteborgs hamn. För att uppnå syftet har en rättsdogmatisk metod tillämpats.

Konflikten i Göteborgs Hamn utgörs av en situation där arbetsgivaren är bunden av kollektivavtal med Transport, medan tredje part, Hamnfyran, vidtar stridsåtgärder för att få till stånd ett eget kollektivavtal. Med hjälp av medlarnas rapport beskrivs den bakomliggande problematiken i konflikten samt de lösningar som diskuterades under medlingen. Som resultat fastställs att stridsåtgärder från tredje part mot redan kollektivavtalsbunden arbetsgivare är fullt tillåtna i gällande rättsläge. Vidare kartläggs även att förekomsten av sådana stridsåtgärder utgör en ytterst liten andel av den totala mängden stridsåtgärder på den svenska arbetsmarknaden. I uppsatsen presenteras vidare de sällsynta fall då staten historiskt har ingripit mot arbetsmarknadens parters autonomi genom att tillfälligtvis begränsa rätten att vidta stridsåtgärder.

Efter redogörelsen av svensk rätt beskrivs Sveriges internationella åtaganden i form av EU, ECHR och ILO. Detta resulterar i fastställandet av stridsåtgärder som ett av de mest avgörande tillvägagångssätten för att säkerställa föreningsfrihet, men att det inte är det enda. Det framgår även att varje land har stor frihet att garantera konventionernas innehåll. Oavsett måste en fackförening ha något medel att tillgå för att utöva sin föreningsrätt. De internationella åtagandena inkluderas sedan i en diskussion om hur en potentiell lagstiftning skulle kunna formas för att behålla konformitet internationellt, gå i linje med den svenska modellen samt lösa den faktiska konflikten. Det undersöks hur införandet av en proportionalitetsprincip eller ett representationskrav skulle fungera utifrån dessa perspektiv. Utöver detta presenteras ett flertal lösningar till Hamnkonflikten som är tillgängliga inom dagens lagstiftning och således ifrågasätts huruvida en lagstiftad restriktion är nödvändig över huvud taget? (Less)
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@misc{8944814,
  abstract     = {The aim of the thesis is to analyse the right to undertake industrial actions and freedom of association, especially in the case where a collective agreement already is in place. The thesis applies mainly three perspectives: a national, an international and lastly one with the concrete use of the ongoing conflict in the port of Gothenburg. To achieve the aim a legal dogmatic method is applied. 

The conflict in Gothenburg concerns the complex situation where the employer is bound by a collective agreement with Transport, but the third party, Hamnfyran, undertakes actions to attain a collective agreement of their own. Using the report from the mediators, the underlying problems and discussed solutions to the conflict are described. As result, the thesis lays down that the case law from the Labour Court consistently rule equivalent actions as lawful and thus that the legal positon is unproblematic. It is also established that the occurrence of industrial actions against employers already bound by another collective agreement not are a commonality. Further, the thesis describes the unusual occasions the government historically has interfered in the social partners’ otherwise sacred autonomy to undertake industrial actions. 

Additionally, an international perspective is described. The section scrutinizes the rights within EU, ECHR and ILO. It is concluded that the right to strike is one of the most essential ways to secure freedom of association, but not the only one. Every country has a wide margin to ensure the regulations within the conventions. A union must however have the possibility to be recognized. Further on, these international obligations are applied in a reasoning of de lega ferenda when discussing a potential future restriction of the right to undertake industrial actions. In this reasoning, a principle of proportionality, a rule of representation and a restriction of third party’s right to take action are discussed with consideration of all three perspectives. The thesis also concludes that there in fact are a fair number of potential solutions to the conflict in Gothenburg within today’s legislation, and thus it is questioned whether a restriction is necessary at all.},
  author       = {Stigmar, Axel},
  keyword      = {Collective agreement,ECHR,EU,Freedom of association,Hamnfyran,ILO,Industrial action,Industrial peace,LO,Port of Gothenburg,the right to strike,The Swedish model & Transport ECHR,Fredsplikt,Föreningsfrihet,Göteborgs Hamn,Hamnkonflikten,Kollektivavtal,Stridsåtgärder,Strejk,MBL,Svenska modellen & Transport},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The right to undertake industrial actions against an employer already bound by a collective agreement - An analysis in the light of the conflict in the port of Gothenburg},
  year         = {2018},
}