ILO and Right to Strike


The rights of the workers in the past has been compromised for a very long period of time, more than over two centuries the laborers have struggled to guarantee themselves rights with the help of International conventions. The right to negotiate and collective bargain has been a triumph for all the workers around the globe. The struggle began to take shape since the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution denotes a significant defining moment ever; pretty much every part of day to day life was impacted. Specifically, basic salary and populace started to display extraordinary continued development. A few financial experts state that the significant impact of the Industrial Revolution was that the way of life for everybody in the western world started to increment reliably but precedent for history shows, a definitive improvement started from late nineteenth and twentieth century.

The International Labour Union Organization, ILO has secured many guaranteed rights to the labours with the consonance of International conventions. India is one of the founding members of the ILO. Any member of the ILO has a duty to comply with International labour standards. The right to strike is an essential part of the basic right to organize. The Right to strike is not mentioned in the ILO constitution, it is one of the most important sources of labour standard yet none of the instruments of the ILO define Right to strike. The supervisory bodies of the committee on Freedom of Association and the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and recommendations (an independent body appointed by Governing body) have worked in consonance to recognize the Right to Strike as a fundamental right in context of the ILO standards.

The convention Freedom of Association and Protection of the right to organize Convention and right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949, Convention no. 87 and 98 respectively covers the right to strike as a defined part in itself.

The convention 87 has been ratified by 144 countries and convention 98 by 154 countries. India has not ratified either of the two conventions. The Indian constitution itself promotes Freedom of Speech and Expression as well as Freedom of Association; the government has always implemented principles to promote the rights of the workers, and to provide them a free and democratic society.

The ILO committee members were of the view that until an alternate remedy for dealing with the demands of the workers is not met there should be some reasonable restrictions on the right to strike. The scheme of the joint consultative Machinery mainly covers class III and IV employees of the Central Government. The scheme includes all the maters relating to the better services at work, improved efficiency and welfare of the workers. Our Constitution ensures professional stability, standardized savings and reasonable working conditions and reasonable wages to the Government servants. They have likewise been furnished with elective complaint redressal instruments like Joint Consultative Machinery, Central Administrative Tribunal and so on. Despite the fact that, these conventions were not ratified, the prerequisite was not felt before the Supreme Court judgment prohibiting the option to strike. Labour law is mainly concerned with the welfare of the workers and the inequalities of bargaining strength between the workers and the management. The rights of the workers to associate and express make it possible to understand the strength of the workers and helps in the development of the Trade union rights.

The history of ILO suggests that there has been a wide consensus among the members to support the existence of the Right to strike. The ILO system has always worked under a shared understanding of Right to Strike being a part of the ILO standards and there has always been harmony about the importance in the perspective of Freedom of Association and Trade Union rights. Though we see a clear picture of right to strike being recognized as a part of ILO standards but the practical situation does not seem so clear. Though Right to strike is within the catalogue of ILO standards for Human Rights, however, a closer look shows the problems regarding the position of Right to strike. Social rights have faced similar problems and inconsistencies and questioned on several limitations by the Courts and legislations itself. The industrial action is one of the best ways to counter balance the arbitrary management actions and Right to strike apart from its tensions and complexities is the centre concern for the welfare of the workers.

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