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2007 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Equatorial Guinea

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 9 June 2007
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2007 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Equatorial Guinea, 9 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c52ca32c.html [accessed 10 July 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: 521,000
Capital: Malabo
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

The exercise of trade union rights is so limited as to be almost meaningless, and the authorities persist in refusing to recognise any unions they consider to be too "independent". The right of workers in public administration to form trade unions has yet to be recognised in law.

Trade union rights in law

Obstacles to freedom of association: The Constitution provides for the right to establish trade unions. According to the 1992 law on trade unions, however, a union must have at least 50 members from the same workplace and the same geographical area in order to register, effectively blocking union organisation. Section 6 of Act No. 12/1992 stipulates that "the unionisation of public administration officials will be governed by a specific law", which has still not been adopted.

The right to strike and to collective bargaining exist, but there are no provisions protecting workers from acts of anti-union discrimination.

The government ratified several ILO core conventions in 2001, including Conventions 87 and 98, but it has still not adapted its legislation accordingly, despite requests from the ILO.

Trade union rights in practice

The dictatorship in Equatorial Guinea is so absolute that there is no real scope for trade unions to exercise their rights.

Union recognition denied: Despite its legislation, the government does not recognise "independent" trade unions. The authorities have consistently refused to register the Unión Sindical de Trabajadores de Guinea Ecuatorial (UST, Workers' Union of Equatorial Guinea), which cannot therefore operate openly. The authorities also refused to legalise the public sector union, the Sindicato Independiente de Servicios (SIS, Independent Services Union). Although it met all the registration requirements, the government objected to the term "independent" in its title. Two other unions, both affiliates of the UST, the Asociación Sindical de Docentes (ASD, Teachers' Union) and the Organización de los Trabajadores del Campo (OTC, Organisation of Rural Workers), have also been denied recognition, on a technicality regarding their by-laws. Furthermore, when a notary was asked to certify their by-laws so that the unions could meet the registration requirements he reportedly refused, stating that trade unions did not exist in Equatorial Guinea.

When workers try to form trade unions, the police visit their homes and intimidate them.

Obstacles to union organisation: Although the law provides for the right to organise and bargain collectively, the government places practical obstacles in the way of groups trying to organise.

The government and employers set wages, with little or no dialogue with workers. There has been no evidence of any bargaining, however the Labour Ministry does sometimes mediate in labour disputes.

Workplace hazards – protestors risk dismissal: The Labour Code provides for protection for workers from occupational hazards, but since in practice there are no trade unions, employees who protest against unhealthy or dangerous working conditions risk losing their jobs.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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