ILO Governing Body

The International Organisation of Employers (IOE) continues to advocate a social dialogue solution to define the scope and limits of the right to strike

News | 14 November 2023
Two special sessions of the ILO Governing Body were held on 10 and 11 November 2023, respectively to consider a request for a referral to the International Court of Justice under Article 37(1) of the Constitution, proposed by the Workers' group and a number of governments, and a request to include a standard-setting item on the right to strike on the agenda of the 112th session of the International Labour Conference (2024), proposed by the Employers' group.

After difficult discussions and without reaching a consensus, the Governing Body adopted by vote a resolution requesting the International Court of Justice to deliver an advisory opinion on whether the right of workers and their organisations to strike is protected under the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87). Furthermore, the Governing Body decided, also by vote, not to include a standard-setting item on the right to strike on the agenda of next year's Conference, and that it would consider appropriate follow-up action after receiving the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice.

The Employers and many governments disagreed with this approach. They argued that the International Labour Conference was the appropriate forum for resolving the long-standing differences on the right to strike. At least, the International Labour Conference – and not the Governing Body – should have taken the decision on whether to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice, and the International Labour Conference – and not the Governing Body - should also decide on any follow-up action after the advisory opinion was received.

Despite these decisions, the Employers remain convinced that the only way to find a sustainable solution to the dispute over the right to strike is through a process of social dialogue within the framework of the International Labour Conference, and they will continue to advocate this approach even after the ICJ advisory opinion.