CJEU Case C-176/12 / Judgment

Association de médiation sociale v Union locale des syndicats CGT and Others.
Deciding body type
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding body
Court (Grand Chamber)
Type
Decision
Decision date
15/01/2014
ECLI (European case law identifier)
ECLI:EU:C:2014:2
  • CJEU Case C-176/12 / Judgment
    Key facts of the case:

     

    Request for a preliminary ruling from the Cour de cassation (France).
    Social policy — Directive 2002/14/EC — Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union — Article 27 — Subjecting the setting up of bodies representing staff to certain thresholds of employees — Calculation of the thresholds — National legislation contrary to EU law — Role of the national court.

    Outcome of the case:

    On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:

    Article 27 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, by itself or in conjunction with the provisions of Directive 2002/14/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2002 establishing a general framework for informing and consulting employees in the European Community, must be interpreted to the effect that, where a national provision implementing that directive, such as Article L. 1111-3 of the French Labour Code, is incompatible with European Union law, that article of the Charter cannot be invoked in a dispute between individuals in order to disapply that national provision.

  • Paragraphs referring to EU Charter

    1) This request concerns the interpretation of Article 27 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (‘the Charter’) and Directive 2002/14/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2002 establishing a general framework for informing and consulting employees in the European Community (OJ 2002 L 80, p. 29).

    ...

    3) Article 27 of the Charter is worded as follows: ‘Workers or their representatives must, at the appropriate levels, be guaranteed information and consultation in good time in the cases and under the conditions provided for by Union law and national laws and practices.’

    ...

    22) In those circumstances, the Cour de cassation decided to stay the proceedings and to refer the following questions to the Court for a preliminary ruling:

    ‘(1) May the fundamental right of workers to information and consultation, recognised by Article 27 of the [Charter], and as specified in the provisions of Directive [2002/14], be invoked in a dispute between private individuals in order to assess the compliance [with European Union law] of a national measure implementing the directive?

    (2) In the affirmative, may those same provisions be interpreted as precluding a national legislative provision which excludes from the calculation of staff numbers in the undertaking, in particular to determine the legal thresholds for putting into place bodies representing staff, workers with [assisted] contracts?’

    ...

    23) By its questions, which it is appropriate to consider together, the referring court seeks to ascertain, in essence, whether Article 27 of the Charter, by itself or in conjunction with the provisions of Directive 2002/14, must be interpreted to the effect that, where a national provision implementing that directive, such as Article L. 1111-3 of the Labour Code, is incompatible with European Union law, that article of the Charter can be invoked in a dispute between individuals in order to disapply that national provision.

    ...

    41) Accordingly, it is necessary to ascertain, thirdly, whether the situation in the case in the main proceedings is similar to that in the case which gave rise to Kükükdeveci, so that Article 27 of the Charter, by itself or in conjunction with the provisions of Directive 2002/14, can be invoked in a dispute between individuals in order to preclude, as the case may be, the application of the national provision which is not in conformity with that directive.

    42) In respect of Article 27 of the Charter, as such, it should be recalled that it is settled case-law that the fundamental rights guaranteed in the legal order of the European Union are applicable in all situations governed by European Union law (see Case C-617/10 Åkerberg Fransson [2013] ECR, paragraph 19).

    43) Thus, since the national legislation at issue in the main proceedings was adopted to implement Directive 2002/14, Article 27 of the Charter is applicable to the case in the main proceedings.

    44) It must also be observed that Article 27 of the Charter, entitled ‘Workers’ right to information and consultation within the undertaking’, provides that workers must, at various levels, be guaranteed information and consultation in the cases and under the conditions provided for by European Union law and national laws and practices.

    45) It is therefore clear from the wording of Article 27 of the Charter that, for this article to be fully effective, it must be given more specific expression in European Union or national law.

    46) It is not possible to infer from the wording of Article 27 of the Charter or from the explanatory notes to that article that Article 3(1) of Directive 2002/14, as a directly applicable rule of law, lays down and addresses to the Member States a prohibition on excluding from the calculation of the staff numbers in an undertaking a specific category of employees initially included in the group of persons to be taken into account in that calculation.

    47) In this connection, the facts of the case may be distinguished from those which gave rise to Kücükdeveci in so far as the principle of non‑discrimination on grounds of age at issue in that case, laid down in Article 21(1) of the Charter, is sufficient in itself to confer on individuals an individual right which they may invoke as such.

    48) Accordingly, Article 27 of the Charter cannot, as such, be invoked in a dispute, such as that in the main proceedings, in order to conclude that the national provision which is not in conformity with Directive 2002/14 should not be applied.

    49) That finding cannot be called into question by considering Article 27 of the Charter in conjunction with the provisions of Directive 2002/14, given that, since that article by itself does not suffice to confer on individuals a right which they may invoke as such, it could not be otherwise if it is considered in conjunction with that directive.

    ...

    51) It follows from the foregoing that Article 27 of the Charter, by itself or in conjunction with the provisions of Directive 2002/14, must be interpreted to the effect that, where a national provision implementing that directive, such as Article L. 1111-3 of the Labour Code, is incompatible with European Union law, that article of the Charter cannot be invoked in a dispute between individuals in order to disapply that national provision.

    ...

    52) Since these proceedings are, for the parties to the main proceedings, a step in the action pending before the national court, the decision on costs is a matter for that court. Costs incurred in submitting observations to the Court, other than the costs of those parties, are not recoverable.

    On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:

    Article 27 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, by itself or in conjunction with the provisions of Directive 2002/14/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2002 establishing a general framework for informing and consulting employees in the European Community, must be interpreted to the effect that, where a national provision implementing that directive, such as Article L. 1111-3 of the French Labour Code, is incompatible with European Union law, that article of the Charter cannot be invoked in a dispute between individuals in order to disapply that national provision.