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Johansson v Sweden (decision), 7 May 1990 [ECtHR]

Case no 13537/88

1. The applicant has complained that the Supreme Court has upheld the decision of his Union to impose a scheme of collective insurance on its members. He complains that this constitutes a violation of Article 11 (Art. 11) of the Convention. (...)

The Commission recalls that right to freedom of association protects primarily against State interference. The question which arises in the present case concerns the extent to which Article 11 (Art.  11) obliges the State to protect a trade union member against measures taken by his union.

In the Commission's view the right to form trade unions involves, for example, the right of trade unions to draw up their own rules and to administer their own affairs. Such trade union rights are explicitly recognised in Articles 3 and 5 of I.L.O. Convention No. 87 which have been taken into account by the Commission in previous cases (see e.g. No. 10550/83, Dec. 13.5.85, D.R. 42, p. 178).

Nonetheless for the right to join a union to be effective the State must protect the individual against any abuse of a dominant position by trade unions (see Eur. Court H.R., Young, James and Webster judgment of 13 August 1981, Series A. No. 44, p. 25, para. 63). Such abuse might occur, for example, where exclusion or expulsion from a trade union was not in accordance with union rules or where the rules were wholly unreasonable or arbitrary or where the consequences of exclusion or expulsion resulted in exceptional hardship.

The Commission recalls that the present case concerns the applicant's dispute as to the validity of the collective home insurance scheme entered into by his Union. The Commission notes that the Supreme Court found that the Union's decision to affiliate its members to the collective insurance scheme fell within the scope of the Union's legal competence under its regulations and that it was accordingly valid.  The Commission finds no indication that the decision of the Supreme Court was unreasonable or arbitrary or that the applicant's affiliation to the collective insurance scheme resulted in such an abuse of a dominant position that his right to freedom of association under Article 11 (Art. 11) of the Convention can be said to have been violated by the respondent Government.

It follows that this complaint is manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of the Convention.

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Jurisprudence

Compulsion to join Business associations Economic objectives Hunting associations Pension funds Restrictions Criminal convictions Non-nationals Public officials Disclosure of member's name Deportation Discriminatory treatment Failure to promote Transfer