The Polish Women’s Strike, abortion, and the right to strike


  • Piotr Grzebyk University of Warsaw



Right to strike, Political strike, Protest strike, Abortion, Polish Woman’s Strike


On 22 October 2020, the Constitutional Tribunal (Poland’s constitutional court) issued a ruling that effectively restricted the legality of abortion, which triggered massive protests (“women’s strike”). In this paper, I take a deeper look at the women’s strike in Poland in order to examine whether its central demand, i.e. the change of law on abortion, pertains to occupational or socio-economic interests of workers and thus meets the criteria for subject matter appropriate to a strike. I also discuss whether this demand may be raised by an actor, such as the “Polish Women’s Strike”, that is not a labour union. The model of the right to strike enshrined in the Polish Constitution and ILO standards (ILO case no 3111 against Poland) prompts a broad interpretation of the right to strike, which leads to the conclusion that politically motivated strikes are allowed under Polish law. I then review the potential interdependencies between abortion and workers’ rights and argue that changing the law on abortion meets the legal criteria for strike demands. Nevertheless, organizations that are not created to represent the collective interests of workers have no legally sanctioned powers to call a strike.




How to Cite

Grzebyk, P. (2022). The Polish Women’s Strike, abortion, and the right to strike. Italian Labour Law E-Journal, 15(1), 151–170.