Debates, Resources

SHOULD WORKERS USE INDUSTRIAL ACTION TO EXPRESS THEIR GRIEVANCES AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT? By Victor ADEYEMO

SHOULD WORKERS USE INDUSTRIAL ACTION TO EXPRESS THEIR GRIEVANCES AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT? YES!

Delivered at The Expressions debate, 2017

Good afternoon Judges, ladies and gentlemen. I am here to reiterate our stance that yes workers should use industrial action to express their grievances against the government.

First, the concept of industrial action is one with constitutional evidence to back it up. In Italy, according to article 50 of the 1946 constitution, the right to strike shall be exercised within the limits set by the laws that govern it. In France, paragraph 7 of their constitution states the right to strike shall be exercised in conformity with the legislation that governs that right. In 2015, the supreme court of Canada ruled that there is a constitutional right to strike and section 82, chapter one of the 1995 Cote d ivoire constitution emphatically says all employees have the right to strike. Judges, these are countries scattered in different continents in the world yet their constitution duly permits workers engaging in industrial action. “Res ipsa loquitur”. The facts speak for themselves.  How then can anyone say that workers should not use industrial action to express their grievances? 

Nevertheless, my opponents may come here to say otherwise by citing references centered on the likelihood of the aggrieved workers violating the laws of the land. However, I need to remind them that there are also laws and regulations that govern their demonstration. An example is that a prior notice of strike must have been given and their demonstration should be peaceful and anyone who does otherwise will have to face the music. Therefore, my opponent’s argument on the probability or law violation is unacceptable.

Finally, an important framework of any constitution is in the provision of freedom of expression. People should be able to voice out and express themselves when they need to. This is why freedom of expression is a fundamental human right today. Industrial action is nothing but an offshoot of this provision because it allows concerned parties to express their grievances against the government. Therefore, when some like my opponents say workers should not express themselves, it is as good as denying them their fundamental freedom of expression.

Our stance in Team HAVI remains that in expressing grievances against the government, yes, workers should use industrial action.