Publication date: 20 September 2018
Russell Advocaten assisted Dutch trade union De Unie in preliminary relief proceedings on the right to strike of security guards at Schiphol Airport. Security company Procheck wanted a total ban on actions by the security guards as these actions might jeopardise national security. The court dismissed this claim and Procheck employees are still allowed to reinforce their claim for a decent redundancy plan by means of actions.
Procheck provides intensive security checks for travellers to Israel and the US, the most sensitive destinations for terrorists, at Schiphol Airport. Schiphol terminated the contract with Procheck because the security guards will be replaced by screening equipment. As a consequence, Procheck has to produce a redundancy plan for 170 employees for whom there is no longer any work.
As the trade unions De Unie, CNV and FNV did not come to an agreement with the management of Procheck regarding the redundancy plan, there was a risk of work interruptions and a potential strike. Procheck wanted to prevent this and initiated preliminary relief proceedings where Jan Dop, LL.M. of Russell Advocaten acted as a lawyer on behalf of De Unie.
Procheck claimed a total ban on actions by security guards as these actions would jeopardise national security. The company also claimed a penalty of EUR 50,000 for each time the trade unions would organise or support a strike, work interruption or any other action. The court dismissed these claims and the Procheck employees are still allowed to reinforce their claim for a decent redundancy plan by means of actions.
For reasons of urgency, the judge has not put forward her considerations in writing yet but they will follow within two weeks after the decision.
The court’s considerations show that it deems Procheck’s claim to be contrary to the right to take collective action. Danger to national security was not evident, also because the trade unions had prepared these actions well and in consultation with the employer and had taken measures against potential calamities.
Now, the threat of actions has caused Procheck and the trade unions to reach an agreement on the social plan.
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