International Right to Strike Under Pressure

One of the fundamental principles and rights at work is the freedom of association for trade unions and employers organizations. This right is enshrined in Convention 87, made up by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and ratified by 167 member countries. Closely connected is the right to strike.

This right is not mentioned as such in Convention 87, but has appeared for many years in the observations of the ILO Committee of Experts on Applications of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR). The right is therefore a matter of interpretation. Since 2012, the employers group in the ILO disputed this interpretation as well as the status and mandate of the CEACR. The right to strike is apparently under pressure.

The decisions of the European Court of Justice in the Viking and Laval case have added to the pressure. The European Commission tried to resolve the issue by regulation, but failed. The draft regulation was rejected by national parliaments and the European Parliament.

Both developments in international strike law, within the ILO and the EU, are analyzed in this article. [PDF, 312KB]

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