Case no 36401/97
2. The applicants complain that they could not take effective legal actions concerning their salary disagreement because they were not members of a trade union. They argue that their right not to belong to an association was violated and that they were subjected to discrimination. They invoke Article 11 of the Convention ...
The Court recalls that Article 11 protects also the negative freedom of association, i.e. the right not to join and not to be a member of an association. Compulsion to join an association may strike at the very substance of the right guaranteed by Article 11 and in itself amount to an interference with the right (see the Sigurdur A. Sigurjónsson v. Iceland judgment of 30 June 1993, Series A no. 264, §§ 35-37, and the Chassagnou and others v. France judgment of 29 April 1999, § 103).
The Court observes that the applicants were at no stage forced to join a trade union. While their non-membership in such a union prevented them, for a certain period, from having their salary dispute examined by a tribunal, the Court notes that the Supreme Administrative Court’s decision of 31 December 1999 has changed the situation in this respect. Especially in view of this, the hardship caused to the applicants due to their non-membership in a union cannot be compared with the serious consequences which arose in the Sigurdur A. Sigurjónsson case referred to earlier (see the above-mentioned judgment §§ 9-17 and 36). Even assuming that the applicants can still claim to be victims within the meaning of Article 34 of the Convention, the Court considers that there is no appearance of a violation of Article 11. This conclusion makes it unnecessary to decide what, if any, relevance the provision contained in the second sentence of Article 11 § 2 might in other circumstances have had in the case.
It follows that this part of application must be rejected as being manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 of the Convention.back