Mass demonstration in Jakarta, February 2014

Mass demonstration in Jakarta, February 2014

Stand up for the right to strike on 18 February


IndustriALL is urging all affiliates to participate in the 18 February 2015 global day of action in defence of the right to strike. This global day of action was called for by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

It is a response to unprecedented attacks by employers and governments against both the right to strike and International Labour Organisation (ILO) defense of that right.

“The right to strike is an essential element of freedom of association and collective bargaining. Unions will stand up on 18 February to defend this fundamental right around the world against attacks from employers and governments,” said IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina.

For much of its near-100 year history, the ILO has supervised the application of ILO Conventions and Recommendations with the full support of the tripartite constituents – workers, employers and governments. However since 2012 the Employers’ Group of the ILO has attacked this system including through challenging the right to strike.

IndustriALL supports the Workers’ Group of the ILO in calling for the referral of this dispute to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion. However the Employer’ Group and some governments blocked this referral at the ILO Governing Body in November 2014. Instead, a tripartite meeting was scheduled for 23-25 February 2015 to discuss the matter further.

The prolonging of this dispute has an impact outside the walls of the ILO. For instance the Turkish government’s ban last week of the metalworkers’ strike in Turkey cannot be effectively challenged at the ILO while the current deadlock persists.

“The outcome of this dispute within the ILO will be felt in workplaces around the world. We need to take action in our countries and demand that striking continue to be recognized as a fundamental, global right,” said Raina.

Unions can participate in the 18 February global day of action in a number of ways:

-           Lobbying of governments that do not support referral of the matter to the International Court of Justice (Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Botswana, Cambodia, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Korea, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritania, Pakistan, Russia, Tanzania, Thailand, USA, Zimbabwe)

-           Protests outside offices of these governments

-           Public protests against employers’ organizations

-           Communications to members explaining the dispute

-           Social media actions

Please inform of what actions you take on 18 February