S&D Euro MPs today reiterated their commitment to defending the right to strike, which is currently under attack on many fronts in Europe and around the world. The MEPs voiced their support during a debate on the international day of action in defence of the right to strike on 18 February 2015, launched by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
The Socialists and Democrats accused employers of attempting to limit the right to strike during ongoing discussions on these conventions at the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
S&D MEP and spokeswoman on social affairs Jutta Steinruck (Germany) said:
"We Socialists and Democrats will never allow the right to strike to be limited. It is a fundamental social right in the DNA of the EU and is non-negotiable.
"Only strong relations between social partners can create a successful economy. The crisis has demonstrated that industry needs clear rules and a high level of participation from workers.
"We are on the side of the workers. We will continue to support them, especially on the 18 February during the international day of action organised by the International Trade Union Confederation."
S&D Euro MP Agnes Jongerius (the Netherlands) added:
"We see that employers want to take away the only tool workers can use in order to stand up for themselves. After the catastrophes in Dakar and Bangladesh in 2013, thousands of workers swamped the streets to demand better working conditions.
"Thanks to the right to strike they were able to stand up for better working conditions and against fraudulent employers. In Europe, we have seen workers' rights being weakened during the crisis and social dialogue being put under pressure, while trade unions are increasingly side-lined.
"Without the right to strike, collective bargaining is nothing more than collective begging."
Referring to the cases of several Spanish workers facing jail after taking part in strike action, S&D Euro MP Edouard Martin (France) stressed:
"We clearly see that under pressure from some employers the right to strike is in danger – and not only in Spain.
"There is a rising trend in Europe towards limiting and even banning freedom of association and the right to protest in times of economic crisis."
He urged all members of the European Parliament to support the international day of action in defence of the right to strike.