Right to strike covered by ILO Convention 87, says Canada’s Supreme Court

04 February 2015
Canada supreme court
Canada's supreme court has made a landmark ruling, affirming that the right to strike is an essential part of a meaningful collective bargaining process and is protected in the Canadian constitution.

The Court found that a law denying the right to strike for a number of public sector workers, with no alternative mechanism, was unconstitutional.

In reaching its decision, the Court reaffirmed that the right to strike is protected by ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association as well as other international treaties. Employers’ organisations at the ILO have been trying to change decades of ILO jurisprudence confirming that Convention 87 does provide the right to strike.

PSI General Secretary, Rosa Pavanelli, says "This is a strong argument in favour of workers. PSI applauds the Canadian Supreme Court's ruling, which sends a clear message to the employers at the ILO."

Unions around the world will be taking action on 18 February 2015 to protect the right to strike. 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.

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