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International Day of the Right to Strike

CNV President Maurice Limmen is extremely worried about the attack by international employers on the right to strike.

This is why CNV puts the focus on the International Day of the Right to Strike on Wednesday 18 February. CNV is asking Dutch workers to send letters to their employers:

The right to strike has been acknowledged for many years by employers and employees alike. But three years ago international employers suddenly started to refute this right. They deny that the right to strike arises from the so convention 87 of the International Labour Organisation ILO on the right to association.

Dutch employers’ association VNO-NCW also refuses to acknowledge the right to strike at an international level any longer. VNO-NCW thinks that the decision to grant the right to strike should be left to individual countries.

CNV President Maurice Limmen responds: 'This is a slap in the face for workers in countries with poor working conditions. In countries like Cambodia, Colombia, or Bangladesh it is impossible to engage in reasonable negotiations. At the same time, striking is illegal.' This is why Limmen thinks that both employees and employers should defend the international right to strike. 'A positive dialogue between employers and employees is important to the CNV. But sometimes a compromise cannot be found. In such a case it is vital that employees can stop working as a measure of last resort.'

Supreme Court Reconfirms the Right to Strike

The right to strike was reconfirmed by the Canadian Supreme Court in an important decision on 30 January of this year. Limmen: 'I am pleased with the decision of the Canadian Supreme Court. The Court indicates that the employees' right to campaign is very valuable. In case of a deadlock, employees should have the option to strike. In some countries it is the only means available to them to exert pressure on the employers.'&nb

Employees sent letters to employers

CNV and FNV have composed a 'Letter to your Employer', asking employers to support the right to strike. The unions call for all employees to send the letter to their employer. Limmen: 'Many decent employers know very well that banning strikes leads to problems under international law. The unions hope that these reasonable employers will induce their employers’ association to change course and adopt a socially responsible view on the right to strike.'

Publication date 18 02 2015