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Employers attack the right to strike

6 November, 2023IndustriALL, together with the ITUC and other global unions, are strongly pushing back against the proposal from the employers’ group ahead of the International Labour Conference in June to include a standard-setting item on the right to strike on the agenda.

The right to strike is an essential part of freedom of association and is protected under ILO Convention 87. While it’s a last resort, without it, workers and unions lack the power to defend their positions against the economic and political power of employers.

In 2015 the International Labour Organization (ILO) employers’ group 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, but the right to strike has been under increasing attacks since.

In a new proposal ahead of the 112th session of the International Labour Conference in June, 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.

Says IndustriALL general secretary Atle Høie:

“IndustriALL will never accept this; the employers’ proposal is fundamentally flawed and must be rejected. The constitutional objective and mandate of the ILO is to protect the rights of workers.

“Standard setting to undo, reverse or take away existing rights enjoyed by and relied upon by all workers is contrary to the objective and mandate of the ILO’s constitution and institutional purpose.”

Photo: Striking Wabtec workers from Erie, Pennsylvania, USA rally at corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh in July this year.