Supreme Court, Second Chamber, Democratic Federation of Unions of Public Servants, 4 March 2005, Amparo en revisión 1878/2004
Freedom of association
Reference to international law to strengthen a decision based on domestic law
Amparo/ Trade unions/ Freedom of association/ National constitution/ Principle of equality/ Reference to international law to strengthen a decision based on domestic law
The Democratic Federation of Unions of Public Servants began legal protection proceedings by claiming the unconstitutionality of the Federal Law on Public Sector Workers, in that this law only recognizes one trade union (the Federation of Unions of Workers in the Service of the State) as the only trade union to which trade unions may become affiliated, and requesting legal protection against the administrative act that denied its registration as a secondary level trade union entity.
The plaintiff invoked the protection of its right to freedom of association in accordance with articles 9, 14, 16 and 123, section B, part X of the Political Constitution of the United States of Mexico, articles 1 and 2 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ILO Convention No. 87, citing the support in its claim from the decisions of the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association and the comments of the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations.
The Court of first instance allowed the claim by the plaintiff, ordering that the Federal Court of Conciliation and Arbitration declare the act by which registration was denied null and void, and decide upon the application for registration of the Democratic Federation of Unions of Public Servants. The Federation of Unions of Workers in the Service of the State appealed against this ruling.
The Labour Court confirmed the part of ruling of its competence and ordered the case files to be sent to the National Supreme Court of Justice.
The Supreme Court confirmed the appeal sentence, which had used ILO Convention No. 87 and the jurisprudence of the ILO supervisory bodies to strengthen the legal reasoning, and ruled that the Federal Law on Public Sector Workers was unconstitutional, in that the right to freedom of association is also provided for trade unions with the same positive or negative aspects that are recognized for individual workers, that is, that trade unions may: 1) join a federation or establish a new one; 2) not join a certain federation or not join any at all; and 3) be free to separate themselves or become part of a federation. Therefore the legislator was not authorized to prohibit the definitive existence of subsequent organizations to those created by the legislator.