Language of document : ECLI:EU:C:2017:109

Provisional text

Case C443/16

Francisco Rodrigo Sanz

v

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Request for a preliminary ruling from the Juzgado de lo Contencioso-Administrativo No 8 de Madrid)

(Reference for a preliminary ruling — Article 99 of the Rules of Procedure of the Court of Justice — Directive 1999/70/EC — Framework agreement on fixed-term work concluded by ETUC, UNICE and CEEP — Clause 4 — Successive fixed-term contracts in the public sector — Restructuring the organisation of universities — National rules — Integration of college lecturers into the body of university lecturers — Condition — Attainment of a doctorate degree — Changing full-time posts into part-time posts — Applied only to teachers employed as interim civil servants — Principle of non-discrimination)

Summary — Order of the Court (Tenth Chamber), 9 February 2017

Social policy — Framework agreement on fixed-term work concluded by ETUC, UNICE and CEEP — Directive 1999/70 — Prohibition on discrimination against fixed-term workers — Restructuring the organisation of universities — National rules providing for the integration of college lecturers into the body of university lecturers — Condition — Attainment of a doctorate degree — Full-time posts converted into part-time posts where the worker does not have a doctorate degree — Applied only to teachers employed as interim civil servants — Not permissible

(Council Directive 1999/70, Annex, Clause 4(1))

Clause 4(1) of the framework agreement on fixed-term work concluded on 18 March 1999, which is set out in the annex to Council Directive 1999/70/EC of 28 June 1999 concerning the framework agreement on fixed-term work concluded by ETUC, UNICE and CEEP, must be interpreted as precluding national legislation, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, which, in the context of measures restructuring the organisation of universities, authorises the competent authorities of the Member State concerned to reduce by half the working hours of college lecturers employed as interim civil servants on account of them not having a doctorate degree, whereas university lecturers employed as permanent civil servants who also do not have a doctorate degree are not subject to the same measure.

The application of such a rule is based on the general premiss that the fixed-term nature of the employment relationship of college lecturers in itself justifies differential treatment of that category of lecturers compared to those employed as permanent civil servants, even though both categories of teachers perform similar functions. Such a premise is contrary to the objectives of Directive 1999/70 and the framework agreement.

That finding cannot be called into question by the argument that a difference in treatment of interim staff is justified by necessary measures relating to the management of the body of university teaching staff and the budgetary restrictions imposed by the Member State concerned since the Court has already held that budgetary considerations, including those deriving from the need to ensure rigorous personnel management, cannot justify discrimination (see, to that effect, judgments of 23 October 2003, Schönheit and Becker, C‑4/02 and C‑5/02, EU:C:2003:583, paragraph 85; and 22 April 2010, Zentralbetriebsrat der Landeskrankenhäuser Tirols, C‑486/08, EU:C:2010:215, paragraph 46).

Whilst budgetary considerations may underlie a Member State’s choice of social policy and influence the nature or scope of the measures which it wishes to adopt, they do not in themselves constitute an aim pursued by that policy and, therefore, cannot justify the application of national legislation giving rise to a difference of treatment to the detriment of fixed-term workers (see, by analogy, judgments of 24 October 2013, Thiele Meneses, C‑220/12, EU:C:2013:683, paragraph 43; of 26 November 2014, Mascolo and Others, C‑22/13, C‑61/13 to C‑63/13 and C‑418/13, EU:C:2014:2401, paragraph 110; and order of 21 September 2016, Popescu, C‑614/15, EU:C:2016:726, paragraph 63). Lastly, it should be added that clause 4(1) of the framework agreement is unconditional and sufficiently precise for individuals to be able to rely on it before a national court as against the State (see, to that effect, judgments of 22 December 2010, Gavieiro Gavieiro and Iglesias Torres, C‑444/09 and C‑456/09, EU:C:2010:819, paragraphs 78 to 83; 8 September 2011, Rosado Santana, C‑177/10, EU:C:2011:557, paragraph 56; and order of 21 September 2016, Álvarez Santirso, C‑631/15, EU:C:2016:725, paragraph 59).

(see paras 51-53, 55, 56, operative part)