European Employment Law Cases

Case Reports

2017/13 A Supreme Court decision on the collective agreement exemption from competition law, freedom of establishment, and the lawfulness of a notified boycott (NO)

Keywords Collective labour law, industrial actions, unions
Authors Kurt Weltzien en Anne-Beth Engan
Author's information

307690 Kurt Weltzien
Kurt Weltzien is a lawyer in NHO, which is the main representative organisation for Norwegian employers. He has a PhD on the thesis “Boycott in labour conflicts”. Kurt Weltzien also represented NHO in the Supreme Court in the case discussed in this case report.

307693 Anne-Beth Engan
Anne-Beth Engan is an associate with Advokatfirmaet Selmer DA in Oslo.
  • Abstract

      This case report concerns the lawfulness of a notified boycott against Holship Norge AS (‘Holship’) by the Norwegian Transport Workers’ Union (‘NTF’). In its decision, the Supreme Court considered whether the collective agreement exemption from competition law could be applied, and whether the boycott was unlawful pursuant to the right to freedom of establishment established by Article 31 of the EEA Agreement, cf. Article 101 of the Constitution and Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
      The boycott would prevent Holship’s staff from loading and unloading ships docked at the Port of Drammen. NTF’s purpose was to force Holship to enter into a collective agreement containing a priority of engagement clause, reserving loading and unloading work for dockworkers associated with the Administration Office for Dock Work in Drammen. The majority of the plenary Supreme Court found (10-7) that such boycott would be unlawful pursuant to section 2 of the Boycott Act. The dissent concerns the EEA rules.

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