THE RIGHT TO STRIKE UNDER THE POLISH CONSTITUTION IN LIGHT OF INTERNATIONAL COLLECTIVE LABOUR LAW STANDARDS
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The current Polish Constitution was introduced ten years ago. The Constitution of April 2nd, 1997 does regulate the right to strike. However, the statutory act of May 23rd, 1991 on resolution of collective labour disputes which deals with the right to strike and the right to organise legal strikes is not compatible with international labour standards. That statement is used by the author as the 'spring board' to declare the vital necessity to bring the Polish collective labour law in order with international treaties with the sole purpose to cope with the legal order enounced in art. 87 sec. 1 of the Polish Constitution. The major criticism voiced by the author reads as foollows: 1.- Art. 20 of 23rd May 1991 reserves for trade unions the monopoly in organising strikes and other protest actions; 2. - Art. 19(1) of the statute in question has defined the ban of the right to strike too broadly; 3.- Forcing the right to declare a strike to be dependent upon a majority vote of the workers supporting the action, on the condition that fifty per cent of the workers comes to the ballot (Art. 20(1) and (2)), creates an apparent drastic limitation of the right to organise a legal strike. The most valid issue when assessing the 1997 Constitution in light of the democratic legal order of an independent country and its matters regulated by collective labour law regulations is for the Constitution to be adaptable to international standards as well as to other labour law regulations that are in accordance with such standards. It is also crucial for international treaties to be ratified, such as the Revised European Social Charter passed by the Council of Europe on 3rd May 1996, which establishes a higher level of protection for workers' rights. Evaluating the Constitution in conjunction with the protection of the right to strike, it is possible to deduce the Constitution was passed in a legal vacuum, isolated from most of the international collective labour law standards. We should not allow for the following decade to be wasted in a similar fashion. We have to ratify international treaties, which assure, in today's times, a high level of worker rights protection.
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