Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July 2014, 14:54 GMT

2012 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights - Azerbaijan

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 - Azerbaijan, 6 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fd88967c.html [accessed 23 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: 9,188,000
Capital: Baku

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

Dismissals: 1

Documented violations – actual number of cases may be higher

Introduction

While the labour laws protect trade union rights, union activity in multinational companies like McDonalds is difficult and often reprimanded.

Background

The economy of the Azerbaijan was challenged in 2011 by the slowdown of economic growth. The Confederation of Trade Unions of Azerbaijan (AHIK) focused on protecting rights in the workplace.

Trade union rights in law

Trade union rights are adequately protected in the law. Unions are recognised as social partners at all levels, including when adopting social and labour laws and regulations. Freedom of association is secured, and the law prohibits anti-union discrimination. Employers can also in general not dismiss employees without the written consent of the trade union within the enterprise. The right to collective bargaining and the right to strike are guaranteed. Unions may not carry out purely political strikes, but are allowed to protest against the state's socioeconomic policies. Finally, workers in essential services as well as employees of legislative authorities, relevant executive authorities, courts and law enforcement authorities may not go on strike.

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

In practice

Labour rights violated: Even though the Labour Code of 1999 has improved the legal guarantees for workers, labour rights are often violated in transnational companies. The most common violations include conclusion of fixed-term contracts for one to three months, deprivation of annual leave days granted by law, overtime without extra payment, and failure to transfer social insurance taxes. Private employers and international companies operating in Azerbaijan also prevent the creation of trade unions, threatening employees with dismissals.

Violations

McDonalds union dismissal taken to court:

In 2011, the Confederation of Trade Unions of Azerbaijan (AHIK) filed a lawsuit against McDonalds for the dismissal of the Chair of the Baku McDonalds restaurants' union, Arif Babaev.

Since the beginning of 2009 local trade unions have been organised by the Federation of Trade Unions of Azerbaijan "Khidmat Is" in four McDonalds restaurants in the city of Baku. During 2009, the membership increased from 18 to 165. In December 2009, the union called for collective bargaining and suggested a draft collective agreement to the executive manager of the company, M.Mirzoev. At the beginning of 2010, a delegation from McDonalds' Moscow office visited the restaurants in Baku, after which the pressure on the unions increased significantly. All union members have been called for individual conversations with management and have been forced to sign documents to leave their union. Since almost all workers were employed under temporary contracts, they signed the documents. The union refused to accept the documents, which have been kept by management. By the end of 2010, only 10 employees confirmed that they indeed wanted to be members of the unions.

At the end of the year, the case was still pending before court.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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