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2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Guinea

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 8 June 2011
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Guinea, 8 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ea6620ab.html [accessed 1 August 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: 10,000,000
Capital: Conakry
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

Trade union members including several leaders received anonymous threatening phone calls during the period of political transition. In the mining sector, workers were threatened, suspended and prosecuted.

TRADE UNION RIGHTS IN LAW

While basic trade union rights are guaranteed, problematic areas exist in the law. Freedom of association is recognised in both the Labour Code and in the new Constitution, which was adopted on 19 April 2010. While union officials are protected against anti-union discrimination, the Labour Code fails to extend this protection to all workers. Workers enjoy the right to strike, but the right is defined as a complete cessation of work for the purpose of vindicating professional claims. This definition excludes in principle industrial action with an economic or a social dimension. Finally, compulsory arbitration can be imposed in essential services, which are broadly defined to include transportation, hospitals, radio and television, and communications.

TRADE UNION RIGHTS IN PRACTICE AND VIOLATIONS IN 2010

Background: The head of the junta, Captain Camara, victim of an assassination attempt which left him seriously injured, resigned in January and was replaced by General Konate. Despite violence during the second round of the presidential elections, promises of a free election were fulfilled. On the 21 December, Alpha Condé, the long-standing opposition candidate, was elected president. He called for reform of the army and the setting up of a "truth and reconciliation" commission for crimes committed since independence. If the mining resources are finally better exploited and well managed and workers are treated in accordance with the labour code, the enormous mining resources of the country should allow for an improvement in the population's living conditions.

We would also like to mention the death of two trade union leaders, Ibrahima Fofana, General Secretary of the Union syndicale des travailleurs de Guinée (USTG), and Haja Magbit Bangoura. The two trade unionists and two journalists died in a car accident in April on their way to Fria for negotiations in a bauxite factory.

Several trade unionists received threatening telephone messages: At one o'clock in the morning on 15 January, several trade unionists received threats on their mobile phones. The contents of the message were intended to exacerbate ethnic and religious tensions and constituted a direct threat to the trade unionists.

Strikers in the mining sector threatened and suspended: Numerous social conflicts on the mining sites demonstrated once again that workers' rights are not being properly respected by employers and the authorities. Serious problems continue to exist despite the authorities promises to pay more attention to the workers' grievances and in particular that they will accelerate the revision of the national mining convention which is biased in favour of the mining companies.

However the vital importance of this sector for the country's economy has often incited the authorities to support employers to the detriment of the workers. On 4 April, the Prime Minister, Jean-Marie Doré threatened to use force and to severely punish striking workers at the Friguia aluminium factory, part of the Russian Rusal group, even though the strikers maintained a minimum service during the strike.

The 25 August, the management of the Société minière de Dinguiraye (part of the Canadian Crew Gold Mining Group) suspended 223 workers. The company accused the workers of attacks on the freedom to work, public abuse, threats and detentions, accusations denied by the trade union leaders who denounce the deterioration of dialogue with management and in particular, a supervisor who slapped a worker. On 29 October, the Sigiri tribunal ruled on this complaint – of the 223 defendants, only two were found guilty but the employer has appealed. The 223 workers remain suspended as they wait for the next phase of judicial proceedings.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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