C-176/12 Association de Médiation Sociale v Union Locale des Syndicats CGT [2014]

C-176/12 Association de Médiation Sociale v Union Locale des Syndicats CGT [2014]

C-176/12 Association de médiation sociale v Union locale des syndicats CGT [2014] ECR I-0000 is a notable EU law case that dealt with the protection of human rights in the European Union, focusing on workers' rights to information and consultation.

The case involved the interpretation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, specifically Article 27, which guarantees workers the right to be guaranteed information and consultation in good time. This provision was implemented in part by the Information and Consultation Directive 2002 (2002/14/EC). The French Labour Code, specifically Article L. 1111-3, excluded workers with non-standard employment contracts from staff numbers used to determine legal thresholds for constituting bodies representing staff. The Union locale des syndicats CGT, a trade union, contended that this exclusion violated both the Charter and the Directive.

In the Advocate General's opinion, Advocate General Cruz Villalón opposed the direct applicability of the Charter. He expressed concerns that recognising specific economic and social rights could lead to the judicialisation of public policy, particularly in areas of significant budgetary importance.

The Court of Justice, in its Grand Chamber, held that the Directive's Article 2(d) and Article 3 defined who should be included in its scope and did not allow the exclusion of certain groups of workers when calculating the number of staff. However, the Court noted that the Charter's Article 27 was not precise enough to determine that national law could not exclude certain categories of workers.

The Court emphasised that while national law should be interpreted in conformity with EU law, this principle has limits. The obligation to refer to the content of a directive when interpreting domestic law is constrained by general principles of law, and it cannot lead to an interpretation contra legem.

Regarding Article 27 of the Charter, the Court reiterated that fundamental rights guaranteed in the EU legal order are applicable in all situations governed by EU law. However, the Court concluded that Article 27, by itself, cannot be invoked in a dispute between individuals to preclude the application of a national provision not in conformity with Directive 2002/14. The Court distinguished this case from Kücükdeveci, stating that Article 27 could not confer on individuals an individual right that they may invoke as such.

In summary, while the Directive was applicable and required the inclusion of certain workers for staff number calculations, the Court held that Article 27 of the Charter, by itself or in conjunction with the Directive, could not be invoked by individuals to challenge the national provision.
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