Friday, October 10, 2014

Spanish military court contradicts ECHR on union activity

A military court in Spain dismissed an appeal filed by Lieutenant Jorge Bravo, the President of the Unified Association of the Spanish Military ("AUME"). He was arrested for stating that rather than cutting pay for soldiers, the military should be cutting other costs, such as costs for anniversary celebrations. According to the military court, Bravo's statements are economic proposals, protests, and - essentially - union activity.

This decision contradicts a recent judgment of the European Court of Human Rights ("ECHR"), which stated that the military can limit some rights -- such as the right to strike and collective bargaining - but that does not mean that military members cannot form professional associations or unions. In that decision, the ECHR ordered France to legalize them.

Bravo has announced that his organization, along with other military associations, promotes demonstrations against the military disciplinary system and the Military Penal Code that is currently before the Congress in Spain because they infringe on fundamental rights. In addition, he says that although attempts to reform the law regarding the "Military Career" was an outstanding commitment, it only addresses secondary issues, such as promotions in the reserves, but it does not solve the big problems for troops on active duty.

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