12

This paper (PDF file) gives the following example of a typical no-strike clause in a collective bargaining agreement in the United States (the paper is from 1984, so I'm not sure to what extent it reflects the current reality in the US):

The union agrees that it will not collectively, concertedly or individually engage in or participate, directly or indirectly, in any strike, slowdown, stoppage or any other interference with or interruption of the work or operations of the employer during the term of this agreement; and the employer agrees that during the term of this agreement it will not lock out any of the employees in the bargaining unit covered by this agreement.

What are some jurisdictions where this kind of clause would be legal/illegal?

If the scope of the question is too large, I'm interested in particular in European Union countries. The question is simply for my personal culture relative to workers' rights.

Thanks,

3
  • 7
    I think the key term is "during the term of this agreement." First let it run out and/or cancel it, then go on strike.
    – o.m.
    Commented Mar 19, 2023 at 10:11
  • 2
    Keep in mind that in any jurisdiction where forced labor isn't permitted, individual workers can still participate in a wildcat strike regardless of this kind of agreement. However, they may be denied certain protections otherwise due to striking workers under local labor law in those situations. Commented Mar 19, 2023 at 19:32
  • 2
    Frequently there is a big difference in validity between public sector and private sector unions and over the reason for the strike (e.g. new contract terms v. unfair labor practices)
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Mar 19, 2023 at 21:46

3 Answers 3

19

In , this is called Friedenspflicht. Both employers and employees (and their unions) are required to refrain from strikes and lockouts in disputes on issues which are covered by a currently valid collective bargaining agreement. The agreement may also stipulate that there will be no labor actions on issues which are not covered, as long as the agreement is in force, but that is not necessary.

Example: There is a collective bargaining agreement on wages, which is still running. Strikes for higher wages are prohibited. Strikes to get better staffing for the night shift would be allowed, if the agreement doesn't say how many employees should be on duty even during slack hours.

14

Une convention ou un accord collectif ne peut pas limiter ou réglementer l'exercice du droit de grève.
A collective or bargaining agreement may not limit or restrict the exercise of the right to strike.

Source: French Interior ministry, my translation.

In France, the right to strike is enshrined in the constitution, via the preamble of the 1946 Constitution which the current 1958 Constitution grants continued constitutional power.

Le droit de grève s'exerce dans le cadre des lois qui le réglementent.
The right to strike may be exercised within the framework of the laws that govern it.

Generally speaking, in France, striking is a collective action but an individual right. Unions cannot take this right away. Only a law enacted by Parliament can do so, and even so, under a strict legal standard of necessity as approved by the Constitutional Council. A union can neither force nor prevent its members from striking.

I'm not completely sure if a bargaining agreement could include a clause preventing a union from calling for a strike. (Of course, in practice, if representatives from a union sign an agreement, they would presumably call for resuming or not stopping work.) I suspect this would be considered an undue limitation to the right for unions to exercise their role as representatives of workers, but I don't know if there's jurisprudence to that effect. And even if it did, it wouldn't affect the right of workers to strike, even if they're members of that union.

As for the employer's side, it's always illegal for an employer to prevent willing workers from working, or to discriminate against workers who choose to strike. So in France, that side of the agreement would only be the employer agreeing to respect the law.

9

Such a clause is unnecessary

Under the Fair Work Act which governs all Federal industrial relations (i.e. all those involving companies, the Federal government, and, for reasons, everyone in Victoria) only allows strikes or lockouts during bargaining periods and these are limited to 7 days either way.

This only leaves employees of States and with non-incorporated employers which is a tiny minority.

You must log in to answer this question.