Universiteit Leiden

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What about the right of employers to take action?

The right to strike is regulated by the European Social Charter, but employers also have the right to take collective action. Employers actually resorting to this in reality hardly ever happens, however. Instead, we constantly hear about workers going on strike.

Better the devil you know

According to Stefan Sagel, Professor of Labour Law in Leiden and lawyer at De Brauw, 'the law provides that employers can go to court if the union goes on strike, but they can also strike back themselves as well as, or instead of, going to court.' 'But the fact that it can be done legally does not always mean that it is the right option in the long run,' says Sagel, an expert on labour law and employment proceedings, on Dutch BNR nieuwsradio.

There is more litigation in Germany concerning employers' action options than in the Netherlands. The saying ‘better the devil you know’ will be a consideration in the Netherlands, which is why employers take so little action. The question of the long-term effects on labour relations also plays a role. As a result, employers often opt to make the best of a bad situation and shy away from taking action.

Listen to the BNR broadcast (in Dutch), which highlights the various means to take action available to employers.

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