Global Action Day for the Right to Strike – 18 February 2015

From NASUWT website 10th Feb 2015

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the Workers’ Group at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) have called for support for a Day of Action on 18 February to defend the right to strike. Education International (EI) is supporting this event and has called on education unions around the world to offer their support.

The Day of Action has been called because of major concerns that the right to strike is now under threat.

As a result of the work of the Workers’ Group at the ILO and support from many governments, the right to strike is seen as a fundamental cornerstone of democracy and social justice which has been recognized internationally for over 50 years. Many countries have incorporated the right in their national constitutions, although governments often prohibit public servants from exercising it.

The ILO standards are crucially important, being used in national courts, as well as in codes of conduct on business and human rights.

In recent months, however, the employers’ representatives at the ILO have been challenging the legal foundation of the right to strike and its transposition into national law, disrupting the functioning of the Organisation’s supervisory mechanisms

The Employers’ Group appears to be working to find ways to eliminate the right to strike altogether and to prevent national courts from using the ILO standards in the matter to rule on the legality of industrial actions. This is at the same time that social protests are being increasingly criminalized in a number of countries where workers are already suffering from austerity measures imposed by the government.

Consequently, an ILO tripartite meeting on 23-25 February will discuss the right to strike and report to the ILO Governing Body in March 2015. If no tripartite consensus can be reached on how to interpret Convention 87 on Freedom of Association, which covers the right to strike, the Workers’ Group will recommend that the dispute be referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), as foreseen by the ILO Constitution. The Employers’ Group will oppose the referral, while many governments still seem undecided.

In preparation for this meeting, the ITUC has called a Global Day of Action on 18 February, whereby national trade union centres will be mobilised to lobby national governments on this issue, particularly those with a representative on the ILO Governing Body this includes the United Kingdom.

The message is simple and focused: if no consensus can be reached on recognition of the right to strike by all three groups (workers, employers and governments) in the ILO Governing Body, there must be a recommendation to refer the dispute to the International Court of Justice.

The ITUC, the Workers’ Group of the ILO and EI therefore ask that messages in support of this simple message are tweeted, shared and sent to elected representatives, on 18 February, making it clear that this recommendation is made where there is no consensus.

The NASUWT is asking members to use social media to share this message to ensure that the appropriate pressure is placed upon all members of the Governing Body to ensure that the right to strike remains a right.

What you can do:

  1. Tweet messages of support and retweet messages as appropriate on 18 February. Hashtags will be publicised nearer the time.
  2. Share information on social media.
  3. Contact your MP or MEP using our simple, easy to use resource.
  4. Find out more at www.nasuwt.org.uk/ILORightToStrike
  5. You can use They Work For You http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24787/richard_fuller/bedford and send you own response
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