Project Summary

1. Objectives

The Project is aimed at increasing the use of judicial protection at European level against discrimination at work and regarding fundamental rights by the Legal bureaus of five Trade Unions in Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden.
To do this, the Project aims to raise awareness, inform and train 26 operators working in Legal Bureaus of the Trade Unions partners on:

a) how to gain access to the European Union Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights;
b) the possibility of utilization of the two Bills of Rights (ECHR and CFREU) in the national tribunals in order to ensure the protection of workers in cases of unjustifiable difference of treatment in the enjoyment of fundamental rights.

2. Beneficiaries

The direct beneficiaries of the Action are 26 Trade Union officials and lawyers, who work in Trade Union Legal Bureaus: 10 from the CGIL; 4 from the CGT; 4 from the Rechtsschutz GmbH – DGB; 4 from the CC.OO; 4 from the LO. The direct beneficiaries will benefit from the activities of awareness, information and training provided in two workshops.
During the period between the two workshops, they will be tutored by experts who will provide assistance with their cases.
In choosing direct beneficiaries, particular attention will paid to include various cultures and genders.

The indirect beneficiaries are the workers who are members of the Trade Unions involved and the Unions themselves that will be able to access better legal services, coherent with European juridical and procedural references.
The final beneficiaries are all workers in general and the population of the member States involved in the Project.

3. Action Implementation

The Project offers a participatory approach in which learning and diffusion of the principles regarding judicial protection at European level of fundamental rights are directly tied to the direct beneficiaries’ experience and current work within the five Trade Union’ Legal Bureaus involved. In particular, beneficiaries are encouraged to work with their own current cases and to develop the project around their real work situations.

The action will be achieved by way of the following phases:

1. an initial workshop to be held in Rome at the end of March 2014, in which, with the aid of national and international experts, the three principal themes will be handled:
a) the relationship between national and European courts regarding the theme of fundamental rights protection;
b) the effectiveness of European jurisprudence in the social area in the members States;
c) integration techniques between EU and national law: ci) the EU preliminary reference as an instrument for the Trade Union Legal Bureaus staff, and of lawyers and judges, to access juridical protection of rights at European level; cii) the supervision of effective interaction between EU and national law by way of a complaint to the European Commission to activate the infringement procedure.

2. a period of 4 months in which the direct beneficiaries utilize the contents and techniques acquired during the first workshop, integrating them into the legal action practice of their Bureaus. In this phase, the experts are available to supervise, at a distance, the direct beneficiaries. They will offer their opinions, follow up and give suggestions and advices regarding the manner in which the beneficiaries make the initiated legal action coherent with EU law.

3. a second workshop, organized at the end of June 2014, whose aim will be to make a joint and comparative analysis of the initiated disputes on the basis of the EU antidiscrimination and fundamental rights legislation and using the judicial procedures before the Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights.

4. coordinated work among experts, with the beneficiaries’ participation, of elaboration of the experiences and systematization of the principles and best practices with the aim of producing a Guide for Trade Union officials and lawyers working in Trade Union Legal Bureaus. This work will be undertaken between July and October 2014.

5. a final conference, to be held in Brussels at the European Trade Union Confederation at the end of October 2014, to promote the results of the project to a wide audience of Trade Union Legal Bureau officials, lawyers, judges, representatives of public institutions at national and European level, representatives of civil society and the media, etc.

The Project aims to establish constant exchange among all participants, whether they are experts or direct beneficiaries, in order to maximize the capital of skills and the individual’s experience as an asset.
This exchange is supported through the provision of a mailing list through which information will be constantly circulated. Participants in the activities of information / training are involved in the production of material to be used in the two workshops. This material is made available online through the publication of a social network page built specifically to facilitate exchange and usability of content.
Contacts between the partners are assured by the Steering Committee that meets when the two workshops are held (March and October 2014) and will in addiction organize regular phone conference meetings thus ensuring transparent management and constant monitoring of the implementation of the Project.

4. Transnational Aspect

The Project involves some of the major European level Trade Unions Confederations Legal Bureaus by establishing operational references (competencies and guidelines) for the dissemination of the principles and judicial procedures at European level with regard to anti-discrimination and protection of fundamental rights.
The Project does so in order to improve the effective implementation of such references in Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden.
The transnational value is also given by the direct reference to European principles in the protection of fundamental social rights.
The context of participatory work facilitates the exchange and transfer of good practice between the partners. The materials produced by the training experts during the two workshops and the Operations Guide for Legal Bureau’ officials and lawyers are designed to be disseminated at the European level and not only to the partners directly involved.
For this purpose, the European Trade Union Confederation is involved in the Project. ETUC, given its role of representing interests at European level, creates the context for the dissemination and promotion of ideas and best practices identified.

5. Supervision and Evaluatino

The monitoring of the Project will be carried out by one of the members of the Steering Committee.
The final assessment of the Project is based on its effectiveness and impact, in order to verify that the Project has produced results and useful changes in the immediate and medium to long term.
The sustainability dimension of the activities will also be evaluated, ensuring the continuation of the procedural reference to the European Courts by the Legal Bureaus involved and the application of European legal references in the procedures put in place at national levels.

6. Innovative Elements

The main innovative element is that the Project bases the learning participative process on experience, through workshops and tutoring by experts. In this way, the participatory approach based on experience makes it possible for an appropriation of content and practice, avoiding the risk of content being extraneous to local operating working contexts and cultures.

7. Use of Results

The results are understood in terms of changing the skills and practices of the Trade Union officials from the Legal Bureaus involved in the Project.
The use of the results already takes place during the Project, with the launch of a number of disputes in a consistent way with the three topics covered in the first workshop and procedures for dialogue between the national and European Courts, favoring the reference local to the European principles and law.
A second use of the results is given by the active dissemination of the Operations Guide for Legal Bureau’ officials and lawyers. It is promoted as a tool to improve the practices and effectiveness of disputes to protect working women and men from being discriminated.
The availability of the Guide also in English makes it accessible to a larger number of subjects in most Member States. Its availability online makes it accessible to anyone interested in improving the fundamentals and practices of litigation against discrimination. It is promoted through a mailing list that contains all the European Trade Unions, civil society organizations involved in the subject, University professors, judges, lawyers, national and European institutions.

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