עמוד בית Mon, 10.12.18

Restriction of the right to strike

22.04.2018

As stated, the right to strike, like any other right, is not absolute and can be restricted in relation to other rights. The right to strike may be subject to substantive or procedural restrictions.1 In special cases, the right to strike may be restricted to the extent that striking is prohibited. As we shall see below, such a prohibition is possible in a case of certain groups of employees in the civil service and in the supply of essential services.2

As a rule, Israeli law does not impose many restrictions on the economic strike, since it takes the view that the protection of the employee against exploitation is of greater importance than the damage caused to the employer. Notwithstanding, even the economic strike is subject to certain restrictions. For example, section 5A of the Work Dispute Resolution Law3 requires fifteen days notice of a strike to be given to the Commissioner of Employment Relations.

Additional restrictions imposed in case law on the right to strike when the court finds that the right to strike has been abused or is disproportionate. The court has also held in the past that ‘the freedom to strike is restricted by the rights of others, and certainly it cannot be said that every tortious act committed during a permitted strike is… There is no legal system, including the Israeli legal system, that exempts the participants in a strike from liability in every case and that gives strikers immunity from every act that is done by them with regard to the strike.’4

The legitimacy of the strike is determined according to factors such as the purpose of the strike, the body at which the strike is directed, the proceeding of declaring the strike, the type of pressure activity that is adopted by the employees and proportionality. A strike that is not defined as a legitimate strike does not benefit from the immunities, and it amounts to a breach of an employment contract and a breach of the employees’ disciplinary duty. In such cases, the strikers and the strike organizers are exposed to sanctions and injunctions.5

Finally, Israeli law restricts the right to strike in the civil service or in cases of institutions that provide essential services, such as medicine, electricity and water. We shall give details of these restrictions below.

 


1    Article 8 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966.

2    Supra, note 11.

3    The Work Dispute Resolution Law, 5717-1957.

4    CA 593/81 Ashdod Car Enterprises Ltd. v. Tzizik et al. [1987] IsrSC 41(3) 169, at pages 170, 192.

5    M. Shaked, 'A Theory of the Prohibition of the Political Strike,’ 7 (1999) Employment Law Annual 185. Ruth Ben-Israel, Strikes and Work Stoppages from the Viewpoint of Democracy, Open University, Tel-Aviv (2003), at page 144.

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