Global campaign in support of the right to strike for all workers

24 June 2014
At the International Labour Conference (ILC) in June 2014, during the discussions in the Committee on Application of Standards (CAS), the Employers’ Group persisted to deny that the right to strike forms part of ILO Convention 87, thus undermining decades of jurisprudence and the application of international law.

The Workers’ Group unanimously rejected the demands of the Employers’ group. The conflict over the right to strike has been referred to ILO’s Governing Body, which could call on the International Court of Justice to produce an advisory opinion and put an end to the dispute. A decision is expected in November 2014.

The Executive Board of Public Services International expresses deep concern with the continuous attacks on trade union and worker’s rights. We strongly refute the suggestion that limitations to collective bargaining are acceptable under any circumstances. As public services unions we are committed to protect citizens and users by ensuring they always have access to quality public services, included through regulating essential services. But when a conflict persists workers have only one effective democratic right: the strike.

Trade union rights violations in the public sector have become a daily occurrence and even more so – these are systemic violations that are not the exception, but the rule.

Many governments have already introduced the worst private-sector practices in public sector employment conditions and today 50% of public service workers are in precarious employment, a majority of whom are women. 

A full-time job with a decent wage and full social security coverage is again a distant dream for millions of workers.

Therefore Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining is at the core of many of struggles that we are supporting. In the last year, PSI has denounced trade union rights violations in countries all over the world, including in Algeria, Botswana, Chile, Columbia, Croatia, Ecuador, Egypt, Fiji, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, South Korea, Lebanon, Paraguay, Peru, Swaziland, Turkey, Tunisia, Portugal and others.

The PSI Executive Board therefore commits PSI to:

  • Launch a global campaign to defend and promote the Right to Strike for all workers
  • Lobby governments to take a stand in favor of the ILO supervisory mechanisms
  • Call for referral to the International Court of Justice and lobby members of the ILO Governing Body. We need a majority in the ILO GB, which means that PSI affiliates need to lobby trade union national centers and governments.
  • Build alliances with other trade unions for this campaign, as well as civil society organizations
  • Continue to offer solidarity and assistance to affiliates whose rights are under attack
  • Proactively campaign to ensure nations ratify and comply with ILO Conventions 87 and 98
  • Lobby inter-governmental bodies and other relevant international agencies and organisations e.g. World Bank, IMF etc. to declare their support for ILO Conventions that guarantee fundamental trade union rights
  • Lobby to ensure global free trade agreements include meaningful commitments to labour rights, including compliance with ILO Conventions

 

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