For Democracy at Work, We Demand the Right to Strike!

This will be a pivotal year for democracy – 4 billion people in more than 60 countries will go to the polls in 2024. Even in countries that will not vote this year, working people are fighting for democracy at work, in societies, and at global institutions.

That’s why the global trade union movement is campaigning For Democracy. We believe that without democracy in the workplace, the fight for democratic societies cannot be won. Whether their governments hold elections or not, billions of workers toil daily under petty workplace dictatorships. The right to speak freely? Suspended at work. Their right to organise a union? Violated at work. Their right to bargain collectively? Denied at work.

The most powerful tool workers have to fight for these freedoms is the right to strike and withhold labour. Strikes have played a pivotal role in building society, advancing democracy, and delivering justice for working people everywhere. It is itself a fundamental right that is violated with abandon by both public and private sector employers.

For nearly 10 years, there has been an impasse on the Right to Strike at the International Labour Organization (ILO) between trade unions and worker representatives and the representatives of employers. In a landmark decision last year, the ILO governing body voted to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice.

As the court considers the case, it’s time to tell your government to side with workers and support the trade union position at the ICJ!


To: Government Delegations to the International Labour Conference

This month in countries around the world, workers and trade unions are fighting For Democracy at work. Regardless of the political freedoms in our countries, millions of workers toil daily under petty workplace dictatorships. Our right to speak freely? Suspended at work. Our right to organise a union? Violated at work. Our right to bargain collectively? Denied at work. But perhaps most insidiously, our most powerful tool that we as workers have to defend and advance these rights is also denied: our right to strike.

For more than ten years, an impasse at the International Labour Organization (ILO) has kept the right to strike in limbo. This is despite the fact that prevailing ILO jurisprudence considers the right to strike inherent under international conventions 87 (Freedom of Association) and 98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining).

Finally, in November 2023, the ILO Governing Body voted to refer the case to the International Court of Justice.

As you travel to and return home from Geneva for the International Labour Conference, we submit this petition to remind you and the delegation representing our countries that real democracy requires democracy at work, and democracy at work requires the right to strike. We ask that as our country’s representatives you use your power to support, act, and speak in favour of the trade unions and Workers Group position and support our right to strike!


Signatures: 9 / 1.000