The right to freedom of association has long been understood as collective right, particularly in the context of industrial relations, and indeed is a bundle of rights exercised jointly and protected individual which enable those in the association to further the purposes for which it was formed. The right to association in a trade union is commonly understood to include the right to strike ( and to bargain collectively). Indeed, without the attendant derivative rights, the right to association in the industrial relations context would be wholly meaningless.
The international right to collective bargaining gives further support to the existence of the right to strike as a derivative right of freedom of association. Whilst the right to strike is not to be confined to the advancement or defence of collective bargaining, the right to collective bargaining is, on the workers’ side, without practical effect of in the absence of a right to strike. Without the latter right, a right to collective bargaining amounts to no more that a right to “collective begging”.
In the public sector, 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.
This is why, we should stand up for the #RighttoStrike. PSI calls on all its affiliates to participate in this Global Day of Action on 18 February 2015, in cooperation with the ITUC and other global unions to defend and promote the right to strike.