Chilean Supreme Court Allows Strikes Outside Collective Bargaining

The Chilean Supreme Court recognized a right to hold strikes. (Common)

EspañolOn Tuesday, March 8, Chile’s Supreme Court decided unanimously to allow workers to go on strike outside a company’s collective bargaining process.

“The mere fact that the law regulates strikes by means of regulated collective bargaining cannot lead us to argue that strikes is forbidden outside it. What the legislator has failed to regulate or define cannot be declared to be forbidden,” the court ruling reads.

“Nor can it be argued that any strike that takes place outside of collective bargaining is unlawful or contrary to the law,” it said.

The decision comes amid President Michell Bachelet’s efforts to pass a controversial labor reform. It aims to extend labor benefits, allow unions within companies and forbid internal strike replacements, the latter measure being the most controversial.

Prior to the court’s ruling, large copper producing companies had been laying-off workers involved in temporary shutdowns, which were deemed illegal because they were outside the terms of contractual discussions.

[adrotate group=”7″]The sentence was issued to reject a local company’s request to overturn a ruling forbidding two labor union leaders for organizing a strike outside of a negotiation. On that occasion, the Santiago Court of Appeals decided that the right to strike is guaranteed outside the collective bargaining process.

The ruling recognizes the strike as a person’s fundamental right. However, it clarified that the only limit to the right to strike explicitly contemplated in the constitution applies “only when services to satisfy fundamental rights, civil liberties and constitutionally protected rights are affected.”

Last week, the government presented the congress with some adjustments to the controversial labor reform bill, which still does not have the ruling coalition’s full support.

Source: América Economía, La Tercera.

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