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Key facts of the case:

(Reference for a preliminary ruling — Articles 56 TFEU and 57 TFEU — Directive 96/71/EC — Articles 3, 5 and 6 — Workers of a company with its seat in Member State A, posted to carry out works in Member State B — Minimum wage provided for by the collective agreements of Member State B — Locus standi of a trade union with its seat in Member State B — Legislation of Member State A prohibiting the assignment to a third party of claims relating to pay)

Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:

The Court (First Chamber) hereby rules:

  1. In circumstances such as those of the case before the referring court, Directive 96/71/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1996 concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services, read in the light of Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, prevents a rule of the Member State of the seat of the undertaking that has posted workers to the territory of another Member State — under which the assignment of claims arising from employment relationships is prohibited — from barring a trade union, such as the Sähköalojen ammattiliitto, from bringing an action before a court of the second Member State, in which the work is performed, in order to recover for the posted workers, pay claims which relate to the minimum wage, within the meaning of Directive 96/71, and which have been assigned to it, that assignment being in conformity with the law in force in the second Member State.
  2. Article 3(1) and (7) of Directive 96/71, read in the light of Articles 56 TFEU and 57 TFEU, must be interpreted as meaning that:
  • it does not preclude a calculation of the minimum wage for hourly work and/or for piecework which is based on the categorisation of employees into pay groups, as provided for by the relevant collective agreements of the host Member State, provided that that calculation and categorisation are carried out in accordance with rules that are binding and transparent, a matter which it is for the national court to verify;
  • a daily allowance such as that at issue in the main proceedings must be regarded as part of the minimum wage on the same conditions as those governing the inclusion of the allowance in the minimum wage paid to local workers when they are posted within the Member State concerned;
  • compensation for daily travelling time, which is paid to the workers on condition that their daily journey to and from their place of work is of more than one hour’s duration, must be regarded as part of the minimum wage of posted workers, provided that that condition is fulfilled, a matter which it is for the national court to verify;
  • coverage of the cost of those workers’ accommodation is not to be regarded as an element of their minimum wage;
  • an allowance taking the form of meal vouchers provided to the posted workers is not to be regarded as part of the latter’s minimum salary; and
  • the pay which the posted workers must receive for the minimum paid annual holidays corresponds to the minimum wage to which those workers are entitled during the reference period.