European Labour Law Conference – Enforcing workers’ rights in Europe through strategic litigation – 20 October 2023, Frankfurt

Enforcing workers’ rights in Europe through strategic litigation
20 October 2023 (10:00 – 17:30)
Interpretation: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish
In-person only, House of Labour, Frankfurt am Main Eschersheimer Landstraße 155/157

This event will explore the interpretative and creative potential of strategic litigation to reinforce the position of (vulnerable) workers in the EU. Trade unionists, lawyers and labour law scholars will present and discuss practical examples of successful proceedings before the European Court of Justice and national labour courts in various European countries.

Several trends are currently reshaping the world of work and calling into question the efficacy of existing labour law instruments in pursuing their protective and emancipatory function vis-à-vis workers. Digital technology, the platformisation of labour, fissuring tendencies and an increasing reliance on service contracts, as well as the growing share of migrant and vulnerable workers in the EU, all have concrete implications for employment rights, the quality of working conditions and the reliability of corporate actors. Is the current EU labour law acquis sufficiently effective at allocating rights and obligations to the important parties of labour relations? And how can strategic litigation support the adaptation of the current legal framework to be more worker-centric?

> the programme in (English) – (French) – (German) – (Italian)


9.30 – 10.00

10.00 – 11:15
Panel 1: Strategic litigation to advance workers’ rights: overarching remarks

– Isabelle Schömann (ETUC Deputy General Secretary): The importance of strategic litigation for trade unions
– Klaus Lörcher (former legal advisor to the ETUC): Strategic litigation in the framework of effective enforcement. New directives, new approaches?
– Lord John Hendy KC (Barrister, London): The role of a trade union-oriented attorney in the pursuit of strategic litigation

Chair: Thomas Schmidt (Labour lawyer, ELDH Co-Secretary-General)

11.15 – 12.45
Panel 2: Platform work and digital technology

– Christina Hiessl (BOFZAP Professor of Labour Law, KU Leuven): Platform work & algorithmic management: strategic litigation in 16 European countries
– Mariagrazia Lamannis (Università degli Studi Magna Grecia, Catanzaro): Strategic litigation and collective bargaining in the platform economy: what interaction?
– Carlo De Marchis (Labour lawyer, Rome): The Italian experience
– Stéphane Teyssier (Labour lawyer, Lyon): The French experience
Q&A, discussion

Chair: Silvia Rainone (Senior researcher, ETUI)

12.45 – 13.45
Lunch break

13.45 – 15.00
Panel 3: Working time

– Armando-Garcia Lopez (Coordinator of legal services for the Federation of Workers’ Commissions Services, CCOO– Servicios, and lawyer, Madrid)
– Johanna Wenckebach (Professor, Scientific Director of the Hugo Sinzheimer Institute for Labour Law HIS – Hans-Böckler Foundation)
Fatma Arda Bicaz / Ceren Uysal (Lawyers, Istanbul)
Q&A, discussion

Chair: Rüdiger Helm (Labour lawyer, Munich)

15.00 – 15.30
Coffee break

15.30 – 17.00
Panel 4: Migrant, temporary and vulnerable workers

Dimitrios Vassiliou (Lawyer, Athens)
Ernesto Klengel (Researcher, Hugo Sinhzeimer Institute for Labour Law HIS – Hans-Böckler Foundation)
Zane Rasnaca (Senior researcher, ETUI)
Angelika Kapeller (Head of the Trade Union Centre for Revision and European Law, DGB)
Q&A, discussion

Chair: Dominique John (Fair Mobility, Berlin)

17.00 – 17.30
Final discussion and closing remarks Chair: Michael Schubert (Labour lawyer, Freiburg)



Please register on the website of the ETUI . Participation in the conference is only possible after prior registration and transfer of the participation fee (free of charge for students and PhD candidates).

Registration fee:

Registration fee for all participants: 140,– € to be paid to the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights – ELDH/EJDM (students and PhD candidates free). After submitting this registration form you will receive a provisional confirmation. Hereafter you will receive an email by the ELDH with the details for the payment of the registration fee. Only after the payment of the registration fee you will receive the final confirmation for your participation at the conference. The fee includes participation at the conference, access to all available documents (speeches etc.), coffee, tea and cold drinks during the breaks and lunch. The fee has to be paid by transfer to the indicated bank account. Payment by credit cards is not possible.


Conference organisers:
o European Lawyers for Workers Network (ELW)
o European Trade Union Institute (ETUI)
o European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (ELDH)
o Vereinigung Demokratischer Juristinnen und Juristen e.V. (VDJ)
Supported by:
o Hugo Sinzheimer Institut for Labour and Social Law (HSI) of the Hans Boeckler Foundation (HBS)
o Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft (ver.di)


The day after the conference:

Saturday, 21 October 2023, 10h00 – 12h30 CET

The annual ELW members meeting takes place the day after the conference on Saturday, 21 October 2023, 10h00 – 12h30 CET in the same venue. All participants at the conference are welcome.

Topics will be among others

•             evaluation of the conference

•             further tasks of ELW (newsletter, next conference..)

•             composition of the Coordinating Committee•            

Please help to to organise this meeting by confirming your participation in advance.


Saturday, 21 October 2023, 14h00 – 16h00

For all who are interested we can organize a historical city tour through Frankfurt with a German trade unionist. (Registration required: ).


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