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All too often, the right to strike is denied to public sector workers, due to broad definitions of essential services and limitations to collective bargaining or the right to organize, while some governments commit outright violations of human and fundamental workers’ rights. Unions around the world have made use of the supervisory mechanisms of the ILO to fight such violations, protect workers and build a stronger union movement. In March 2015, the ILO Governing Body has to take a decision on the resolution of this conflict that has had a chilling effect on the ILO supervisory mechanism since 2012. If no agreement can be reached, PSI supports the referral to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion on the matter, as foreseen in the ILO Constitution.
This conflict cannot stay within the walls of the International Labour Organization and concerns all workers. Without the right to strike, trade unions and workers have no means to fight for their rights. One hundred years after the beginning of the First World War, our world is again up in flames with regional and national conflicts that threaten world peace. In the aftermath of the First World War, the ILO was created to ensure social justice would prevail and its mission is as relevant as ever. There is also a direct link between the conflict at the ILO and the ongoing free trade negotiations that give preference to the interests of multinational companies. Labour clauses that refer to ILO standards are no guarantee for the respect of workers' rights if the ILO's authority continues to be undermined. Austerity policies and structural adjustment programmes also aim to destroy collective bargaining mechanisms and agreements. The crisis of the ILO must be seen in this context.
At the ITUC's General Council, a resolution was adopted that calls for a Global Day of Action on 18th February.
PSI calls its affiliates to participate in the Global Day of Action, in cooperation with the ITUC and other global unions to defend and promote the right to strike.
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