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Right to strike upheld – but needs defending

Right to strike upheld – but needs defending

Following a worldwide trade union campaign to defend it, the right to strike has been re-affirmed at the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva.

ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) general secretary Steve Cotton explained: “Unions and employers meeting at the ILO have upheld the general right to strike. Two critical provisions are recognised: the constitutional principle of the right to strike, as well as the jurisprudence on it of the last 60 years.”

He continued “There is no doubt that without the huge mobilisation efforts of the global union federations and trade union organisations worldwide, the basic human right to withdraw your labour could have been removed. It is down to all of our efforts that the attempt was defeated – and it will be down to all of us to ensure that it is protected. Even as this victory has been won, attacks on the right to strike at national level continue.

“We will all remain vigilant. We will not surrender this basic guarantee of freedom. In particular we will be closely watching the March meeting of the ILO Committee of Freedom of Association, which will be studying right to strike cases, including ones submitted by the ITF and its unions.”

ITF president Paddy Crumlin stated “The right to strike to protect economic and industrial access and respect in the workplace is essential. Thanks to the efforts of good women and men and their trade unions the attempts by neo-liberal employers to remove it have been defeated. But there is no guarantee that they won’t try again, including at national level.”

He concluded: “Those employers who tried to crush this basic right have seen the attempt thrown back in their face. Trade unions, with the support of progressive and democratic organisations, drew a line in the sand. That line has not been crossed. Today we can pause for a moment to congratulate ourselves on the worldwide mobilisation that made it so – and then ensure that the next attempt is similarly defeated.”

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