Key facts of the case:
Reference for a preliminary ruling — Directive 2001/23/EC — Scope — Article 1(1) — Transfers of undertakings — Safeguarding of employees’ rights –Service contract for the management of a municipal Academy of Music — Cessation of the activity of the first contractor before the end of the current school year and designation of a new contractor at the beginning of the following school year — Article 4(1) — Prohibition of dismissal by reason of transfer — Exception — Dismissal for economic, technical or organisational reasons entailing changes in the workforce — Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union — Article 47
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Fifth Chamber) hereby rules:
- Article 1(1) of Council Directive 2001/23/EC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the safeguarding of employees’ rights in the event of transfers of undertakings, businesses or parts of undertakings or businesses must be interpreted as meaning that a situation, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, where the successful tenderer for a service contract for the management of a municipal school of music, to which the municipal administration had supplied all the means necessary for the exercise of that activity, ceases that activity two months before the end of the current academic year, proceeding to dismiss the staff and returning those material resources to that municipal administration, which conducts a new tendering procedure solely for the following academic year and provides the new contractor with the same material resources, is capable of coming within the scope of that directive.
- Article 4(1) of Directive 2001/23 must be interpreted as meaning that, in circumstances such as those at issue in the main proceedings, where the successful tenderer for a service contract for the management of a municipal school of music ceases that activity two months before the end of the current academic year, proceeding to dismiss the staff, the new contractor taking over the activity at the beginning of the next academic year, it appears that the dismissal of the employees was made for ‘economic, technical or organisational reasons entailing changes in the workforce’, within the meaning of that provision, provided that the circumstances which gave rise to the dismissal of all the employees and the delayed appointment of a new service provider are not a deliberate measure intended to deprive those employees of the rights conferred on them by Directive 2001/23, which it will be for the referring court to ascertain.