International Transport Workers’ Federation v Viking Line ABP [2008] I.R.L.R. 143

industrial action, strike, trade union, viking line, 2008

International Transport Workers’ Federation v Viking Line ABP [2008] I.R.L.R. 143 is an Employment Law case concerning Trade Unions and Industrial Action.


Viking Line entered into a contract with Finish Seaman’s Union (FSU) for FSU’s employees to complete extra work for Viking Line. However, the employees of FSU sought more pay in return for the extra work to be completed. On the other hand, Viking Line rejected this proposal of paying the employees higher wages. Therefore, a Trade Union (ITWF) conveyed a decision to FSU employees not to do extra work without receiving more pay from Viking Line. Nonetheless, Viking Line complained that this was unfair industrial practice. 


However, was this considered as an unfair industrial practice?


Overall, in International Transport Workers’ Federation v Viking Line ABP, the court held that the only legitimate practice that could be taken by the ITWF was a strike upon a notice. Moreover, the court went onto state that although industrial action is a “fundamental right” of the EU, it must be justified and proportionate. Therefore, Viking Line was entitled to rely on the right to freedom of establishment to challenge the actions taken by ITWF. 

References: EU:C:2007:772, [2007] E.C.R. I-10779, [2007] 12 WLUK 202, [2008] 1 C.M.L.R. 51, [2008] All E.R. (EC) 127, [2008] C.E.C. 332, [2008] I.C.R. 741, [2008] I.R.L.R. 143, [2008] C.L.Y. 1351

Read our notes on Trade Unions and Industrial Action and other cases for more information.