We call for the extension of the constitutional right to workers’ strikes. Pursuant to Art. 59 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, point 3 “Trade unions shall have the right to organize workers’ strikes or other forms of protest subject to limitations specified by statute. For protection of the public interest, statutes may limit or forbid the conduct of strikes by specified categories of employees or in specific fields”. In our opinion, the existing restrictions on the right to strike are arbitrary, and there is no public interest behind them – they only benefit of the authorities.
Art. 19 of the Act on the Settlement of Collective Labour Disputes indicates many professional groups who are denied the right to strike. The prohibition of strike is also enshrined in the Civil Service Act, and it means that all its employees are prohibited from participating in strike actions. In addition, the government recently presented a proposal to amend the Act on the Settlement of Collective Labour Disputes, which further restricted the right to strike and take it away from unrepresentative unions.
In our opinion, all of the above restrictions go too far and should be lifted. It is the task of the public administration to offer the employees of state’s strategic institutions such working conditions that they have no reason to strike. The prohibition of strikes and the threat of criminal consequences against the strike organizers are the domain of undemocratic states that do not respect their citizens.
Therefore we propose that the Act on the Settlement of Collective Labour Disputes restrict the right to strike only in situations where a strike could be a direct threat to human life. In all other cases, workers should be entitled to strike action. The ban on strikes should also disappear from all of legislation, including the Civil Service Act.
At the same time, we propose to simplify the way to strike action. The employer should not be able to block a strike ballot or refuse to enter into a collective dispute. These are activities that brutally hinder the freedom of trade union activity.