Pfeiffer v Deutsches Rotes Kreuz
|Pfeiffer v Deutsches Rotes Kreuz|
|Court||European Court of Justice|
|Citation(s)||(2005) C-397/01-403/01,  IRLR 137,  1 CMLR 1123|
|Working Time Directive|
Pfeiffer v Deutsches Rotes Kreuz, Kreisverband Waldshut eV (2005) C-397/01-403/01 is an EU law and European labour law case concerning the Working Time Directive. It is relevant for the Working Time Regulations 1998 in UK labour law.
Workers of the German Red Cross, including Mr Pfeiffer, who served as emergency workers, doing ambulance runs claimed that a collective agreement that set their hours at 49 hours per week violated the Working Time Directive. The Red Cross contended that as emergency workers they were like civil servants and thus fell outside the Directive's scope.
The Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice held that workers could not be asked to work 49 hours a week by a collective agreement. They had to opt out individually. As a starting matter it held that the exception for civil servants was not applicable, holding that ‘the civil protection service in the strict sense thus defined, at which the provision is aimed, can be clearly distinguished from the activities of emergency workers tending the injured and sick which are at issue in the main proceedings.’ The ‘worker's consent must be given not only individually but also expressly and freely’. So people had to opt out individually, not by collective agreement.
|“||67. Since they are exceptions to the Community system for the organisation of working time put in place by Directive 93/104, the exclusions from the scope of the directive provided for in Article 1(3) must be interpreted in such a way that their scope is limited to what is strictly necessary in order to safeguard the interests which the exclusions are intended to protect (see, by analogy, the judgment in Jaeger, paragraph 89).
82. Any derogation from those minimum requirements must therefore be accompanied by all the safeguards necessary to ensure that, if the worker concerned is encouraged to relinquish a social right which has been directly conferred on him by the directive, he must do so freely and with full knowledge of all the facts. Those requirements are all the more important given that the worker must be regarded as the weaker party to the employment contract and it is therefore necessary to prevent the employer being in a position to disregard the intentions of the other party to the contract or to impose on that party a restriction of his rights without him having expressly given his consent in that regard…
- Inequality of bargaining power
- Working Time Directive
- Allonby v Accrington and Rossendale College (2004) C-256/01, -, also on the dependent position of workers