Lithuania -Court decision backs Carlsberg in attacking labour rights January -12, 2012

Brewery multinational Carlsberg has attacked trade union rights in Lithuania with the support of the country's legal system. On 10 June 2011, members of the Lithuanian Trade Union of Food Producers (LPMS) voted in favour of strike action at the local Carlsberg brewery in support of their demand for a decent company-level collective agreement. Management sought to stop the strike and applied to the court asking to declare the strike ballot procedure invalid and the strike illegal, arguing that no strike action was possible until the “high season” had passed. On 20 June, the Klaipeda district court suspended the start of the planned strike for 30 days based on the determination that the production of beer was recognized as “vitally essential” in Lithuania. By contrast, two weeks later the city district court ruled that the strike was legal. Carlsberg management appealed this decision, and on 5 August the Klaipeda regional court annulled the decision of the lower court, ruling that the strike was illegal. The union has appealed the regional court decision to a higher court, where the case is still pending. Meanwhile, Carlsberg Lithuania management has pressured union leaders and activists through disciplinary action. Furthermore the company initiated a police enquiry against workers who joined a picket line to protest the suspension of the strike.


This article was published in the Collective Bargaining Newsletter. It aims to facilitate information exchange between trade unions and to support the work of ETUC's collective bargaining committee. For more information, please contact the editor Maarten van Klaveren, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) or the communications officer of the ETUI, Mariya Nikolova You may find further information on the ETUI at, and on the AIAS at © ETUI aisbl, Brussels 2012.

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