Key facts of the case:
Reference for a preliminary ruling – Social policy – Directive 2008/104/EC – Temporary agency work – Article 5(5) – Equal treatment – Appropriate measures to prevent misuse of temporary agency work – Obligation for Member States to prevent successive assignments – No limits in national law – Requirement to interpret national law in conformity with EU law.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Second Chamber) hereby rules:
The first sentence of Article 5(5) of Directive 2008/104/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on temporary agency work must be interpreted as not precluding national legislation which does not limit the number of successive assignments that the same temporary agency worker may fulfil at the same user undertaking and does not make the lawfulness of the use of temporary agency work subject to the prerequisite that it must be justified by technical, production, organisation or replacement-related reasons. On the other hand, that provision must be interpreted as precluding a Member State from taking no measures at all to preserve the temporary nature of temporary agency work and as precluding national legislation which does not lay down any measure to prevent successive assignments of the same temporary agency worker to the same user undertaking in order to circumvent the provisions of Directive 2008/104 as a whole.
54) However, as the Advocate General stated in point 44 of her Opinion, it is apparent from recital 1 of that directive that the directive is designed to ensure full compliance with Article 31 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, paragraph 1 of which establishes in general terms the right of every worker to working conditions that respect his or her health, safety and dignity. The Explanations relating to the Charter of Fundamental Rights (OJ 2007 C 303, p. 17) indicate, in that regard, that the expression ‘working conditions’ is to be understood in accordance with Article 156 TFEU. However, that provision merely refers, without any further definition, to ‘working conditions’ as being one of the areas of the European Union’s social policy in which the Commission may intervene to encourage cooperation between Member States and facilitate the coordination of their action. In the light of the objective of Directive 2008/104 to protect the rights of temporary agency workers, that lack of precision supports a broad interpretation of the concept of ‘working conditions’.