Right to strike
Strike is a collective refusal to work, with the aim of obtaining specific working conditions from an employer. It is subject to strict conditions of validity.
The purpose of a strike is to obtain working conditions that can be regulated by a collective employment contract. For this, it is necessary that the employees are supported by a trade union that has the capacity to sign a collective employment contract.
Employees cannot go on strike to obtain any rights from the employer. A request for payment of wages, a challenge to a mass redundancy, a request to introduce a minimum wage... The claims that employees can make during a strike are limited.
When employees go on strike, the company is sometimes forced to stop its activities completely. This can be particularly problematic when employees are engaged in vital activities, such as health and safety. Certain categories of employees are not allowed to go on strike.
In view of the disproportionate consequences of a strike, employees should try to find an amicable solution with the employer. Only if negotiations have reached a standstill is a strike possible.
The purpose of a strike is to obtain concessions from the employer. These concessions must, if possible, be obtained through negotiation or conciliation. In the event of a strike, the employer may decide to refer the matter to the competent conciliation authorities in order to put an end to it.
Between the climate strike, the women's strike and the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, political strikes are making their way onto the Swiss scene. The rules of labor law do not apply to such strikes because they are not aimed at obtaining concessions from the employer. An employee who is absent from work without the employer's consent in order to participate in a strike may be sanctioned.
The consequences of a strike depend primarily on whether or not it is legal. If the strike is unlawful, the employee may be liable for damages resulting from the strike.
Employees who go on strike are exercising a right that is protected by the Federal Constitution. An employer who is angry about the strike and its financial consequences should think twice before dismissing the strikers. If the strike is legal, he risks being accused of wrongful or immediate unjustified termination.