STS 6066/2007

S.T.S. 6066/2007
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The State’s Convergence of Unions of Physicians (SCUP) planned multiple strikes in 2003. Before these strikes, the Bureau of Economics and Treasury of the Community of Valencia issued a resolution that required the physicians to perform “minimal health services” in the hospital before they could strike. This resolution effectively required physicians to forego the strike in order to complete the required procedures. The physicians claimed that the resolution violated their right to strike guaranteed by Article 28.2 of the Constitution.

The SCUP filed an appeal before the Chamber of Administrative Law of the Superior Court of Justice of the Community of Valencia, but this appeal was dismissed. It further appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court partially upheld the appeal. The Court held that the resolution violated the SCUP’s right to strike. The Court reasoned that the community’s right to vital health services must be prioritized over the Union’s right to strike. However, since the surgeries were not urgent, the strike could not be prevented on the grounds that it infringed the community’s right to health.  Even though suspending patients’ surgeries was a nuisance, it was not adequate grounds to infringe the SCUP’s right to strike.

The Court further held that the SCUP’s damages calculation was not supported by the required detail and specificity, so the portion of the appeal that requested 30,000 euros for each day of strike in damages was dismissed.

“If the recipient of those essential services is the entire community and the services are at the same time essential to it, the strike cannot impose a sacrifice of the interest of the recipients of the such services.” Page 4.

“When resolving the conflict of interests referred to in the decision herein appealed between the right to strike, in one hand, and the right to health, in the other, is not ignorable that not all the scheduled surgeries are equally urgent, so establishing a minimal service of the operating rooms scheduled that reaches all the services of a usual day, results disproportionate and constitutes an infringement of the right to strike.” Pages 6-7.

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