The rise of neoliberal agendas of political actors and a wave of privatisation in the globalisation era have often been followed by anti-privatisation strikes. These are union strikes against the privatisation process and against contracting out and opening markets to competition. The article presents the distinction between different versions of constitutionalism regarding anti-privatisation strikes. It discusses two approaches to constitutionalism – the economic approach and the collective approach – and their manifestation in the case law of Israel and the United Kingdom.
The collective approach suggests the recognition of a constitutional status of collective rights as a basis for counter-balancing the neoliberal practices of regulators and political actors. Following the effects of liberalisation on the labour market – both in influencing union organisational capacity and in weakening job security of individual employees, the collective approach is aimed at protecting employees’ rights in a globalised-privatised era. Within the collective approach, constitutionalism is used as a basis for recognising anti-privatisation strikes. In contrast, the economic approach denies the existence of a constitutional right to strike against privatisation.
The article presents an eclectic model which merges the two approaches, and advocates its adoption. Drawing on New Institutional Economics, the eclectic model offers a theory for moderating the constitutionalism practice and developing partial and restrained constitutionalism. It proposes the adoption of a constitutional right to strike against privatisation, when its application reduces transaction costs and advances efficiency and economic goals for the benefit of the public.