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2012 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights - Mozambique

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 6 June 2012
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2012 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights - Mozambique, 6 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fd88934c.html [accessed 27 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Population: 23,390,000
Capital: Maputo

ILO Core Conventions Ratified:

29 (Forced Labour (1930))
87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise (1948))
98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining (1949))
100 (Equal Remuneration for Work of Equal Value (1951))
105 (Abolition of Forced Labour (1957))
111 (Discrimination in Employment and Occupation (1958))
138 (Minimum Age for Employment (1973))
182 (Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (1999))

Reported Violations – 2012

Murders: none reported
Attempted Murders: none reported
Threats: none reported
Injuries: none reported
Arrests: none reported
Imprisonments: none reported
Dismissals: none reported

Documented violations – actual number of cases may be higher

Introduction

Employers continued to ignore collective agreements, as an example at a cashew nut factory showed. There was concern about the increasing use of casual and agency labour, as employers tend to exploit their more vulnerable position and seek to keep unions at bay.

Background

Despite steady GDP growth, about 55% of the population still live in poverty. The country still ranks near the bottom of the UN's Human Development Index and inequality remains high.

Trade union rights in law

Free trade union activity is hindered by a number of restrictions. Public servants do not have the right to form and join unions. However, a general law on public servants has been drafted to allow these workers to exercise freedom of association though the draft still excludes some categories of workers, and provides for cumbersome dispute resolution procedures.

Furthermore, the draft law provides for fines for strike pickets that disrupt the normal operation of services. Arbitration is compulsory in essential services, the list of which is very broad and includes activities in the country's export processing zone (EPZ) in Mozal. Finally, the Labour Act allows a strike to be ended by a decision of the mediation and arbitration body, and makes any violation of the articles on the right to work of non-strikers and on minimum services a disciplinary offence, making the striking workers liable to civil and penal sanctions.

Link to additional detailed information regarding the legislation on the ITUC website here

In practice

Employers – good intentions collectively, ignoring rights individually: Although the Mozambican Workers' Organisation (OTM-CS) considers relations with the social partners are good at the national level, it has asked to be involved more closely in Civil Service pay reforms, recalling the lack of transparency that has prevailed. At the enterprise level, performance is not so good as trade unions have not been able to develop. Employers have continued to show their hostility towards workers' representatives and anti-union discrimination remains a problem as the 2007 Labour Code does not contain sufficiently dissuasive sanctions, while the legal constraints on private gatherings and workers' meetings at the workplace are very strict. Collective agreements are rare and constantly violated, which has led to several industrial disputes. The government has consistently failed to respond to ILO requests to report on any measures taken to promote free and voluntary collective bargaining.

Discrimination in the EPZs: The Mozambique Workers' Organisation (OTM-CS) has complained about discrimination against trade unionists in the export processing zones (EPZ), where dismissals of activists and members or violations of collective agreements – where they exist – occur. Furthermore, the right to strike is very difficult to exercise in practice, as the zones are covered by the law on essential services.

Contract and agency workers kept ignorant of their trade union rights: The number of contract and agency workers in Mozambique has increased since changes to the labour law in 2007, making it easier to hire workers on short term contracts. When the Mozambique Chemical and Allied Workers Union visited a factory in Maputo in September 2010, it found that nearly half the 1,700 staff were contract workers, while at another factory all employment came through labour agencies. Although all workers have the same rights in law, companies like to keep contract and agency labour (CAL) workers ignorant about their rights, and union representatives are sent away. Because the workers do not know their rights they are more open to exploitation. As a result CAL workers do not receive salary increases, employers neglect to make social security payments and health and safety protection is ignored. In one case an agency worker in a chemical factory had an accident when the sack he was carrying broke and chemicals burnt his skin. Both the company and the agency refused to pay for his treatment, each denying responsibility. The worker eventually died from his injuries. The unions are working on supporting and organising CAL workers with the support of an ICEM project.

Violations

Employer reneges on pay agreement with workers: At the end of May about 600 workers at the cashew processing factory Olam Moçambique, went on strike on strike in protest against cuts in their wages. The company had reneged on an agreement, contained in the contracts the workers had signed, to pay them a monthly wage of 1,680 meticais (about 56 US dollars). Instead the employer introduced a productivity-based system whereby workers were only paid according to the quantity of nuts they shelled. Discussions with the provincial labour authorities had failed to produce a solution. Even the monthly wage of 1,680 meticais in the workers' contracts was illegal, as the statutory minimum wage for industrial workers had risen from 2,497 to 3,100 meticais a month in April.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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