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Solidarity: FAU Berlin Condemns Restriction of Right to Strike in the Pilots’ Work Conflict

Published on Sep 12, 2015 Tags: ,
Once again, a labour union has appeared in court this week because of actions taken during a labour dispute. The union in question was the airline pilots’ union Association Cockpit (VC: Vereinigung Cockpit). With its decision from September 9, 2015, the regional labour court (LAG: Landesarbeitsgericht) Hessen in Frankfurt/Main has “temporarily” – though in effect definitively – prohibited VC from continuing its strike against Lufthansa. FAU Berlin declares its solidarity with VC and protests against the judges’ infringement of the constitutional and human right to strike.

Labour lawyer Dr. Rolf Geffken states: “Deutsche Lufthansa have, after all, attempted and failed to have strikes by Association Cockpit prohibited seven times. In addition, the applications for a temporary injunction against the pilots’ recent strikes were turned down by the labour courts in Cologne and Frankfurt. All of these strikes were considered to be ‘reasonable’. But now, chamber 9 of the regional labour court of Hessen (in a court decision from 9.9.2015, ref.: 9 SaGa 1082/15) has decided otherwise: allegedly, the objectives could not, at least in part, be achieved through collective agreements. The strike is, therefore, to be considered as ‘manifestly’ illegal.”  

In the eyes of FAU Berlin, this decision represents a serious infringement of the constitutional right to strike. As there is fortunately no restrictive strike law in Germany, intransigent companies have repeatedly attempted to gain the support of German courts. In recent years, a – from a union perspective – positive trend (solidarity strikes, flash mobs, etc.) has become apparent in the relaxation of the old West German court rulings: a slow convergence towards European standards. The decision of the 9th chamber of LAG Hessen marks a clear departure from this trend. The court’s allegation that VC have secretly been pursuing “inadmissible strike objectives” – a category which is itself another relic left over from old West German jurisdiction – is especially serious. How the court detected these secret strike objectives is unclear – but crystal-gazing is the only plausible explanation.

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