Employment and pensions: Promotion on grounds of seniority

United Kingdom

The ECJ has given a preliminary ruling regarding the salary group classification of a Greek citizen based in Germany. The main issue was whether a German collective wage agreement laying down salary scales based on the number of years practised in a certain employment category violates the EU rules where it does not take account of comparable activities carried out in a public service of another Member State.

The ECJ held that Article 48 of the Treaty and Article 7(4) of Regulation 1612/68 had been violated. This legislation guarantees equal treatment of workers who are nationals of other Member States in regard to any clause of a collective or individual agreement concerning issues such as pay. The conditions for promotion on grounds of seniority work to the detriment of migrant workers who have spent part of their career in the public service of another Member State, and therefore violate the principle of non-discrimination in EU legislation. The ECJ considered that the provision at issue was therefore null and void insofar as it laid down or authorised discriminatory conditions in relation to workers who are nationals of other Member States.