Case C-569/16, Bauer – an heir’s accrued leave rights post-Bollacke but contra legem

After the CJEU’s labour law Bollacke judgment, if a worker had accrued paid annual leave but had died before taking it, then it looked like the heir to his estate could claim a cash equivalent from the employer. Yet the effect of this new EU labour law right seems to be drained by old German inheritance law. Thus, what is a German labour law judge to do? Applying the EU’s ‘working time’ Directive 2003/88/EC or Article 31(2) of the EU Charter would clearly be contra legem so there is no obligation on the national court to give effect to it. However, if EU labour law prevails, then does it matter that the employer was a public body (Case C-569/16) or a private company (Case C-570/16)? More

Case C-126/16, Federatie Nederlandse Vakvereniging – worker rights, failing firms and pre-pack administration

Economic recession sends many companies to the wall. Insolvency can result in workers losing their jobs and creditors losing most of their money. One solution to the problem has been the development of a ‘pre-pack administration’. A court-appointed administrator will sell the failing business at or soon after his appointment. Oddly, the buyers will often be the firm’s existing owners or directors. The novelty with a pre-pack is that all of the preparatory work is done prior to the sale happening. In other words, the work is done before the formal notice of administration order has been made, and it is done even before the creditors have been told about the firm’s failure. Although this insolvency solution has its roots in English law, it has recently been transplanted and adopted by some of the courts in Holland. However, a Dutch court faced with a Dutch pre-pack administration has decided to ask the CJEU whether this Dutch judicial practice is in conformity with the EU’s ‘transfer of undertakings’ Directive 2001/23/EC? More

Case C-424/15, Ormaetxea Garai – dismissed so unfairly as to query the independence of regulators

Many of Spain’s national regulators have been merged into one mega regulator. People formerly running those regulators have been made redundant even with retroactive effect. Is retroactive dismissal contrary to the general principles of EU law? And since people have been removed from their jobs prior to the end of their fixed-term contracts, is this not contrary to EU law’s requirement that national regulators be completely independent, as per the EU’s ‘communications networks’ Directive 2002/21/EC? More

Case C-216/15, Betriebsrat der Ruhrlandklinik – stopping the sisters of merciless competition

A German clinic wants to hire-in nursing staff from the German Red Cross. It expects those nurses to be put to work on a non-temporary basis. However, the clinic’s plan is being blocked by the clinic’s works council. It points out that the plan breaches a rule in German law that says employees can only be seconded on a temporary basis. ‘Irrelevant’, the clinic would say, ‘the German rule only applies to employees, and since Red Cross nursing staff do not have a contract of employment they are not employees’. Is this literal reading of German law not contrary to the protective aim of the EU’s ‘temporary agency work’ Directive 2008/104/EC? More