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National Union of Belgian Police v. Belgium (4464/70) [1975] ECHR 2 (27 October 1975)

Facts: The applicant is the National Union of Belgian Police and is open to all members of the municipal police. The applicant union claims that the decline of the number of its members was due to the trade union consultation policy which provides that if an organization is not recognized as representative, it is barred from the consultation procedure.

Complaint: The applicant union applied to the Conseil d'Etat for a declaration of annulment of the Decree implementing the consulation policy and claimed it violated the principle of trade
union freedom in that it made it "obligatory" for police officers to join "political" trade unions.

Holding: the ECHR found a violation of article 11 trade union rights.

Reasoning: there was a duty on Member States to ensure that "under national law trade unions should be enabled to strive for the protection of their members' interests." Legislation is one of the principal means by which governments seek to control private parties' conduct. Article 11 thus imposed a positive duty on national governments to legislate in support of trade union rights and not only to avoid legislating contrary to that right.


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