Key facts of the case:
Reference for a preliminary ruling: Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Castilla-La Mancha - Spain.
Social policy - Protection of employees in the event of the insolvency of their employer - Directive 80/987/EEC - Scope - 'Claims' - 'Pay' - 'Salarios de tramitación' - Payment guaranteed by the guarantee institution - Payment subject to the adoption of a judicial decision.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, THE COURT (Sixth Chamber), in answer to the questions referred to it by the Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Castilla-La-Mancha by order of 27 October 2000, hereby rules:
- Claims in respect of salarios de tramitación must be regarded as employees' claims arising from contracts of employment or employment relationships and relating to pay, within the meaning of Articles 1(1) and 3(1) of Council Directive 80/987/EEC of 20 October 1980 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the protection of employees in the event of the insolvency of their employer, irrespective of the procedure under which they are determined, if, according to the national legislation concerned, such claims, when recognised by judicial decision, give rise to liability on the part of the guarantee institution and if a difference in treatment of identical claims acknowledged in a conciliation procedure is not objectively justified.
- The national court must set aside national legislation which, in breach of the principle of equality, excludes from the concept of pay within the meaning of Article 2(2) of Directive 80/987 claims in respect of salarios de tramitación agreed in a conciliation procedure supervised and approved by a court; it must apply to members of the group disadvantaged by that discrimination the arrangements in force in respect of employees whose claims of the same type come, according to the national definition of pay, within the scope of that directive.