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2012 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights - Central African Republic

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 - Central African Republic, 6 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fd8895b1e.html [accessed 24 October 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: 4,400,000
Capital: Bangui

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

Arrests: 3
Imprisonments: 2

Documented violations – actual number of cases may be higher

Introduction

Social dialogue is insignificant, in a country where the state is incapable of paying its staff correctly and on time. The government, responding to the protests staged during the month of August, announced that it understood the workers' legitimate demands but was not in a position to satisfy them. In November, three trade union representatives were arrested and maltreated.

Background

The country has been ravaged by decades of political and military upheaval. Fourteen armed rebel groups are thought to be active in the CAR. In January, President François Bozizé and his party, the Kwa Na Kwa (work, only work), were re-elected. The opposition denounced massive electoral fraud. In December, Doctors Without Borders alerted international public opinion to the humanitarian crisis underway, reporting very high mortality rates even in areas not affected by conflict or displacement.

Trade union rights in law

The new Labour Code that was adopted in January 2009 brought some well-needed but inadequate improvements. Access to union office is still restricted, and foreigners who want to organise face residency requirements of at least two years. In addition, although the Labour Code provides some protection for unions against interference by employers, is does not cover measures aimed at placing unions under economic or other forms of control by the employer.

Trade unions and professional groupings of workers are held in equal standing, and both may negotiate collectively. A strike may only be called in support of work-related demands, and the government reserves the right to requisition workers if deemed in the "general interest". Furthermore, strikes are banned until all conciliation and arbitration procedures have been exhausted.

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

In practice

Protests and government apathy: The capital was the scene of intense protests in August and September. University staff, secondary school substitute teachers and SOCATEL workers (telecommunications) took strike action. A demonstration was also staged by retired police and soldiers, who held the Mediator of the Republic hostage for a number of hours. All of their demands were related to pay arrears. The government announced that it recognised the workers' demands but was not in a position to satisfy them. The trade union movement expressed grave concern over the government's passive attitude and the country's socio-economic situation, with wages stagnating as the cost of living climbs higher and higher.

Violations

Three trade union leaders assaulted and arrested: Eight demonstrators, three of whom were trade union representatives, were assaulted and arrested by the police on 25 November, during a march in Bangui in solidarity with women in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as part of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Faustine-Theodora Grothe, general secretary of the Confédération nationale des travailleurs centrafricains (CNTC) was released by the end of the day thanks to the intervention of the International Labour Organisation office in Yaoundé. The seven other demonstrators were only released two to three days later, after being subjected to physical maltreatment. On the eve of the march, Faustine-Theodora Grothe had denounced the human rights violations in the subregion. At the end of December, the head of the police force tried to justify its action, claiming that it had not received the mail announcing the demonstration in time.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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