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Schmidt and Dahlstrom v. Sweden Eur. Ct. HR, Series A, No. 21 (1976)

Facts: the applicants were members of Schmidt and Dahlstrom, a striking union. One bargaining practice in Sweden provided that if national pay negotiations continued beyond the date on which the annual pay increase was due to take effect, there was a retroactive effect of the pay increase when it was finally agreed. However, the members of any union which chose to strike during this period would automatically forfeit the right to benefit from this retroactive effect. The applicants, members of the striking Union, were denied the benefits, although they had not participated in the strike.

Complaint: The applicants, meme Schmidt and Dahlstrom claimed that the denial violated Article 11 of the European Convention.

Holding: the ECHR did not find a violation of article 11

Reasoning: The Court recognized that Article 11 contained a clear statement allowing trade union activity to exist. However, it stated that the right to strike was not inherent in the right to freedom of association so the State was free to restrict the right to strike.   It also stated that it would not allow a code of labor or industrial relations to be read into the Convention and it elected to hold a narrow interpretation to article 11. Accordingly, it refrained from becoming potentially embroiled in an endless series of industrial disputes which, it reasoned, could best be solved by courts in the Contracting States.

 

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