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Supreme Court of Denmark

Government intervention in the teachers’ industrial dispute not in contravention of the Working Time Directive 
01-06-2018 

Case no. 141/2017
 

Judgment delivered on 1 June 2018


The Confederation of Teachers Unions
vs.
The Ministry of Employment


Derogations from the rules on rest and weekly rest day, added to the collective agreements by virtue of the intervention act, were to be regarded as collective agreement provisions

The case concerned the issue of whether the derogations from the rules of the Working Time Directive on rest and weekly rest day, adopted as part of the government intervention in the 2013 teachers’ industrial conflict, were in contravention of the Working Time Directive. 

As regards the provisions of the intervention act on school camps etc., the Supreme Court held that the derogations could be specified by law, and that they, for that reason alone, were not in contravention of the Working Time Directive.

The question was then whether the provisions of the intervention act that did not concern school camps etc. and that permitted a reduction of the daily rest period from 11 to eight hours in exceptional cases once a week had been drafted in accordance with the Working Time Directive, according to which derogations may be made by means of collective agreements.

The Supreme Court found that the concept of “collective agreement” should be interpreted and applied in accordance with national legislation and practice.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court found that the provisions of the intervention act should be regarded as collective agreement provisions, as they became an integrated part of the collective agreements just as if the parties had adopted them, and because they were essentially an extension of what had already been agreed upon by the parties. The derogations from the rules of the Working Time Directive on rest and weekly rest day were thus in compliance with the Working Time Directive.

The High Court had reached the same conclusion.

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