Canadian unions join February 18 global mobilization on right to strike

February 12, 2015

The International Trade Union Confederation is calling on unions around the world to demonstrate their support for the right to strike on February 18.

The mobilization comes in advance of a key decision being made in March by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Governing Body about whether to refer a dispute over the right to strike to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

At stake is ILO jurisprudence that enshrines the right to strike in ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association. Unions around the world say employers’ attempts to undermine that jurisprudence could have far reaching consequences and want the dispute referred to the ICJ.

Canadian Labour Congress president, Hassan Yussuff, has written to Labour Minister Kellie Leitch, urging her to play a leadership role at the ILO and support the proposal to refer the issue to the ICJ.

“In our view, the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision affirming the right to strike as essential to meaningful collective bargaining now creates a responsibility for the Government of Canada to support that proposition,” the letter says.

“The Canadian trade union movement is clear on the direction you should take at the ILO with respect to Convention 87,” writes Yussuff.

“We are united in our request that you now take the necessary steps to carry forward the spirit of the recent Supreme Court decision on the right to strike into the upcoming decision making at the ILO.”