Key facts of the case:
Reference for a preliminary ruling – Protection of workers – Collective redundancies – Directive 98/59/EC – Termination of contracts of employment as a result of the death of the employer.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Fourth Chamber) hereby rules:
20) In those circumstances, considering that an interpretation of the provisions of Directive 98/59 is necessary for its decision, the Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Madrid (High Court of Justice, Madrid) decided to stay the proceedings and to refer the following questions to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling:
‘1. By restricting the definition of collective redundancies to dismissals on economic, technical, organisational or production grounds and by failing to extend the definition to dismissals for any reason not related to the individual workers concerned, does Article 51 of the Workers’ Statute fail to fulfil the obligations imposed in [Directive 98/59]?
2. Is the legal rule in Article 49(1)(g) of the Workers’ Statute, which establishes for workers who lose their jobs as a result of the death, retirement or incapacity of the employer compensation limited to one month’s remuneration, excluding them from the scope of Article 51 of the Statute, also contrary to [Directive 98/59] in that it fails to comply with Articles 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 thereof?
3. Does the Spanish legislation on collective redundancies, and specifically Articles 49(1)(g) and 51 of the Workers’ Statute, infringe Article 30 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union [proclaimed at Nice on 7 December 2000 (OJ 2000 C 364, p. 1)] and the Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers adopted at the European Council meeting held in Strasbourg on 9 December 1989 [by the Heads of State or Government of 11 Member States]?’
58) By its third question, the national court asks, essentially, whether Article 30 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers can be interpreted as precluding national legislation such as that at issue in the main proceedings.