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Industrial action may take place in an employer’s parking lot

In a judgment dated 30 March 2017, the Higher Regional Labour Court Berlin-Brandenburg held that a trade union may take industrial action on an employer’s premises (docket number: 24 Sa 979/16).

In this case, the trade union Ver.di had planned to picket in the company parking lot of a large online retailer. Its goal was to pressure the employer to apply the local collective bargaining agreements applicable to the retail sector. By choosing the company parking lot, the trade union hoped to reach as many employees as possible. While the court of first instance had held that the employer did not have to accept industrial action on its premises, this decision was reversed on appeal. According to the court, the right to take industrial action allowed limitations on the employer’s property rights. Due to the location of the employer’s site, it considered the parking lot to be the most appropriate and effective location for the trade union’s measures, which it found did not affect the employer’s business activities. The court, however, also underlined that the employer was not required to provide other means to support the industrial action.

Due to the general importance of the legal issues involved, the court has allowed an appeal to the Federal Labour Court for review.