A trade union is traditionally an association of workers. Its purpose is to defend their rights and common interests. The freedom to join or not to join a union is provided for in the Federal Constitution.
Sometimes as a co-contractor in a collective employment contract, sometimes in support of employees during a strike: the union makes occasional appearances in the world of work, which are often not appreciated by employers.
A worker's membership in a trade union sometimes gives rise to fears on the part of the employer that the employee may become more assertive or assert his or her rights. Does the employer have the right to dismiss the employee for this reason?
Collective employment contract
A collective employment contract is an agreement between one or more employers and a trade union. Its purpose is to regulate the working relationship between employees who are members of a union and employers who are bound by the collective employment contract. The conclusion of such an agreement with a trade union is necessary to set up certain working arrangements, including the waiver of the recording of working hours.
When tensions arise between the employer and his or her employees and the social dialogue gets bogged down, employees sometimes resort to strike action in order to make the employer give in. A strike in Switzerland is subject to numerous conditions of validity.
In particular, the strike must be aimed at obtaining working conditions that can be regulated by a collective employment contract. Such an agreement can only be concluded by a trade union and not by the employees of a company, even if they get together. A strike is therefore only lawful if it is supported by a trade union.
Access to trade unions in the company
In principle, everyone is free to join or not to join a trade union or to create one. This is the freedom of association that is enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
However, it happens more and more often that a union asks to have access to the company's premises to give information to the employees or to start a dialogue with the employer. The union sometimes posts itself around the company's premises to distribute leaflets, without the employer's consent. Can the employer object to this?