Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Here's an interesting little item from the German Deutsche Welle about how retailers in Germany are trying to have the tactic of "flash mobs" banned for use by labour during disputes. Well...if they dislike it so much that they are trying to have it banned then it stands to reason that it's a useful tactic and one well worth considering for use outside of Germany. Here's the story.
Retailers launch legal bid to ban flash mobs:
German retailers say there is no room for flash mobs - large groups of people who assemble suddenly in a public place to perform an unusual action - when it comes to labor disputes.

The Association of German Retailers (HDE) has filed a legal complaint with the nation's highest court in an attempt to ban the use of flash mob tactics in labor disputes.

The term "flash mob" refers to the sudden assembly of a large group of people who perform an unusual action before quickly dispersing. Such gatherings are generally organized via mobile phone messages, social media websites like Facebook, or viral emails.

The lawsuit lodged with the Federal Constitutional Court is directed at the Verdi services union, which organized a flash mob at a supermarket where unionized staff members were striking in 2007.

The flash mob protest saw 40 participants block the store's checkout area for about an hour by simultaneously purchasing small items worth just a few cents. They also filled shopping carts with goods and abandoned them in the store for strike-breaking workers to clear away.
Questionable tactics
The latest complaint comes three months after the Federal Labor Court ruled that flash mobs are a legitimate form of industrial action given that they do not constitute a blockade of company facilities.

Judges recommended that store owners counter the spontaneous protests by closing their stores for a short time or banning participants from entering the premises.

But the HDE says that decision is both impractical and unfair.

"The people who suffer are customers who are not involved in the dispute," HDE labor expert Heribert Joeris told the Associated Press.

Joeris warned that the term 'labor dispute' would become disreputable if flash mobs were permitted to make a nuisance of themselves in retail outlets, or if store workers could only clear protesters from their premises by using physical force.

"That would be a legal situation that we retailers cannot and will not accept," he said.

1 comment:

Larry Gambone said...

I can just imagine the difficulty of enforcing such a law if they are idiotic enough to create one.

Ah, the joys of free enterprize... when in doubt call on the state to bail you out!