Trade unions and employers' associations are authorized to declare a work stoppage for the purpose of working for the advancement of their demands in industrial disputes and for the protection of their rights under the Act No. 80/1938, subject only to the conditions and limitations which are laid down in law. The term „work stoppage” refers to lockouts by employers and strikes in which workers discontinue their normal work to some extent or in its entirety in order to achieve a specific common goal. The term also applies to other comparable actions taken by employers or workers, which may be regarded as the equivalent of work stoppages.
A strike is in fact only used as a bargaining tool by trade unions when negotiating a new collective agreement. When a collective agreement has been signed the negotiating trade union or unions waive their right to strike against the negotiating employers inasmuch as the conditions established in the collective agreement are respected (peace clause). Cases concerning violations of a collective agreement or disagreements relating to the interpretation of a collective agreement can be resolved by referring the case to the Labour Court. According to Act No. 80/1938 it is not permissible to resolve such grievances by calling a strike. According to Act No. 80/1938 a strike is only permitted if the decision to call a strike has been taken by secret ballot with the participation of at least 20% of those on voting and/or membership list, and the proposal receives the support of the majority of votes cast. A proposal for a strike must state clearly the aim it is intended to achieve and when it is proposed to begin. Secret postal ballot may also be used for a proposal to call a strike, in which case the result is considered valid irrespective of the participation rate. Formal announcement of industrial action must be sent to the State Mediator and the counterpart with 7 days’ notice. Competent representatives of the contracting parties may at all times cancel a work stoppage. The same parties may postpone a work stoppage that has been called, once or more often, by up to 28 days in total, without the approval of the opposite contracting party, providing that party is informed of the postponement with at least three days' notice. It is furthermore always possible to postpone a work stoppage that has been called, and a work stoppage that is in progress, with the approval of both parties.