From Japan, Korea, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Russia, Turkey, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Botswana, South Africa, Canada, to Argentina and Columbia and in many other countries, workers joined actions in defence of the right to strike.
The day of action took place a few weeks before the ILO Governing Body has to take a decision, in March 2015, on the resolution of a conflict that has had a chilling effect on the ILO supervisory mechanism since 2012. At the same time, governments are negotiating the Post 2015 Development Agenda.
Rosa Pavanelli, general secretary of PSI says: ”We live in a globalized economy and workers have to be strong and united in their action. Solidarity is more important now than ever before, when trade union and workers’ rights are being attacked on all fronts. The day of action gives a clear signal to employers around the world – hands off our right to strike.”
While some unions organized mass demonstrations and pickets, others organized public hearings, workplace protests, petitions and press conferences to expose the role of their national employers’ organizations and raise awareness on this global attack on democracy.
Since June 2012, employers have been challenging the existence of an international right to strike and the authority of the ILO and its supervisory mechanism. These attacks come at a time when employers and governments implement austerity measures and “structural reform programmes”, the growth of precarious jobs is rampant and social protests are criminalized with the intent to silence workers and their demands for decent jobs and social protection. Without the right to strike, collective bargaining is nothing more than begging. Workers must defend and protect an international system based on human rights and international labour standards and prevent it being replaced by free trade agreements and ad-hoc private tribunals (investor-state dispute settlement or ISDS) that prioritize the interests of multinational companies over the public good and democracy.
PSI will continue to fight for the right to strike, together with its affiliates and the ITUC, ITF, EI and other global unions.