Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

2009 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Angola

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 11 June 2009
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2009 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Angola, 11 June 2009, available at: [accessed 29 May 2016]
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: 17,500,000
Capital: Luanda
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

There are still far too many legal restrictions preventing workers from organising, negotiating and going on strike.

Trade union rights in law

Government approval required: The Constitution provides for the right to form and join trade unions, apart from the police and the armed forces. However, government approval is required and the procedures are cumbersome. At least 30% trade union membership is needed for setting up a branch union at provincial level, which is an excessive requirement. Women and men engaged in domestic work or casual labour are excluded from the General Labour Act.

Strike restrictions: The right to strike is recognised, but strictly regulated. The law does not contain any effective measures to prohibit employer retribution against strikers, and the government can force them back to work under various pretexts. The law prohibits strikes by the armed forces, police, prison workers and fire fighters. The Strike Act was being revised (as of February 2006) and trade unions called for genuine tripartite consultation to ensure it complies fully with international labour standards. When holding a strike ballot the quorum to be attained (two-thirds of the votes) is too high. The list of essential services is too long and includes, for instance, the transport sector, communications, waste management and treatment, and fuel distribution.

Collective bargaining is banned in the civil service. Discrimination against union members is prohibited, but these rights are not consistently enforced.

The National Tripartite Commission has drafted some proposals for modifying the laws on trade unions, strikes and collective bargaining.

Trade union rights in practice and violations in 2008

Background: The elections in September, which were the first since 1992, produced a crushing victory for the ruling party, the MPLA. UNITA, the main opposition party, did not contest the vote. Harassment of human rights organisations and of the free press intensified during the year. Despite increasing oil revenues (the country has become the leading oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa), the gap between rich and poor has continued to widen.

Rights not respected: In practice, the fragile process of democratisation and restrictions on civil liberties, following a long civil war, make it difficult for unions to enforce their rights or to carry out any activities without permission from the government.

Collective bargaining curtailed: Collective bargaining is restricted in its coverage. The government is the country's biggest employer and, through the Ministry of Public Administration, Employment and Social Security, sets wages and benefits on an annual basis. This involves consultation, but no negotiations with the unions.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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