Global Day of Action for the right to strike

09 February 2015

Send out a strong signal on the 18th February to employers that the right to strike and international labour standards must be respected.

International Labour Organization (ILO) core conventions are increasingly being referred to by national and regional courts, in voluntary codes of conduct, and in international free trade agreements. In response to this, the Employers’ Group of the ILO has been leading a concerted attack on the right to strike protected by ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and the Protection of the Right to Organise (C87). They simply deny the existence of this right, which poses an acute problem for national and regional courts that do not have a well‐defined right to strike, and rely instead on international law.

The employer view that freedom of association is a self‐contained individual right that is separate from the context of industrial relations is narrow and misguided. The right to freedom of association has long been understood as a collective right to be taken as a bundle of rights exercised jointly and protected individually.

Under the ILO Constitution, social justice should take precedence over other economic goals. It can be argued that this involves the improvement of conditions of work and the ability of workers to participate in making decisions which affect their working lives. The unquestioned international right to collective bargaining gives support to the right to strike as a derivative right of freedom of association.

This dispute has led the Workers’ Group of the ILO to demand the referral of the dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for an advisory opinion concerning the interpretation of C87 in relation to the right to strike. They hope to have a declaration adopted recognizing the right to strike as an integral part of ILO Convention No. 87.11. If the Employers’ Group wishes to continue contesting the point, it must resolve the matter before an international and independent judicial body.

For more information visit: http://www.ituc-csi.org/18feb

 

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