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5 reasons why we still need the right to strike

7 February, 2024The right to strike is an essential part of freedom of association. Most strikes are for increased pay and better working conditions. If the right to strike is removed, corporations would make bigger profits, workers would get lower wages and working conditions will worsen.

The right to strike is an essential part of freedom of association and is protected under ILO Convention 87. Withholding labour is a crucial negotiating tool during the bargaining process, its main objective is to change the balance of power between workers and the employer.

Here are five key reasons why we need the right to strike:

  1. Striking is a last resort but sometimes the only tool for workers to protect themselves.

  2. To avoid being at the complete mercy of employers.

  3. To give more of a balance between worker and employer power.

  4. Without it, more and more governments will ban industrial action and punish people who dare to strike.

  5. Most strikes are over pay and better working conditions. Without the threat of strike action, corporations will be able to make bigger profits, while working conditions will get worse.

Limiting the right to strike will have serious repercussions on everyone

The right to strike is under attack in many countries around the world. It is also, again, under attack from employers and governments at the International Labour Organization (ILO), which sets global standards on labour rights.

In 2015 the ILO employers’ groups and certain governments challenged ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association, which is ratified by 153 countries, and up-holds the right to strike. Unions around the world protested to protect this fundamental right.

However, at the ILO Governing Body in November last year, the employers’ group proposed to include a standard-setting item on the right to strike on the agenda. In the proposal, the employers’ group is calling for a protocol to be attached to C87 to “regulate” the right to strike, while at the same time denying that Convention 87 protects the right to strike.

IndustriALL, together with the ITUC and other global unions, have strongly pushed back against the proposal from the employers’ group, which has been referred by the ILO to the International Court of Justice


Photo 1 : Jack Quillin - Los Angeles California 05 26 2023 Writers Guild of America Grève dans le centre de Los Angeles - Picket Signs
Photo 2: Ringo Chiu - People holding signs take part in a protest at the University of California Los Angeles campus Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022 in Los Angeles.