MEPs dissect Laval and Partners case

  • 2005-07-13
  • From wire reports
RIGA - MEPs from Latvia, Hungary and Sweden said that European Commissioner Charlie McCreevy would have to provide explanations about sanctions imposed by Sweden's trade unions against Latvia's construction company Laval and Partners.

Elina Melngaile, an adviser to Latvia's MEP Valdis Dombrovskis, said that parliamentarians from the three countries, as well as the Swedish lawmakers, on July 11 discussed the Swedish trade unions' actions against the Latvian company.

The MEPs also decided to invite McCreevy, commissioner for European internal markets and services, to a parliamentary hearing that will hear explanations about Laval and Partners and other similar cases submitted by the new member states.

Participants also sent a letter to Sweden's government and trade union, demanding to provide explanations on the case.

A local authority contracted Laval and Partners to carry out major remodeling on a Stockholm school, but the firm was barred from its duties after a Swedish trade union blockaded workers from the territory. The trade union was upset that several Latvian workers had been employed on the project under Latvian laws. Trade unionists demanded the Latvian firm to sign a collective labor contract with its workers in Sweden, forcing the company to pay its workers higher wages and thereby lose its competitive advantage.

Laval and Partners, as well as the Latvian government, believes that the trade union, by doing so, has breached EU provisions on the free movement of services and labor.

The Stockholm municipality formally terminated the contract with the Latvian firm after the latter was unable to fulfill its obligations.

Laval and Partners' company in Sweden, L and P Baltic Bygg, filed a bankruptcy report early in April.