Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 August 2014, 14:37 GMT

2007 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Benin

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 - Benin, 9 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c52ca4128.html [accessed 21 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: 7,100,000
Capital: Porto Novo
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

Unions still have to seek government approval before being registered. The Public Service Ministry has reportedly sought to harass and weaken the independent union.

Trade union rights in law

Government approval: The Labour Code recognises the right to form and join trade unions. At present, unions must deposit their statutes with the Ministry of the Interior to obtain legal recognition, or they will be penalised with a fine. The government agreed to modify the Labour Code so that unions would not have to seek government approval before being legalised, but has not yet done so.

Seafarers: Seafarers are excluded from the Labour Code, as they are covered by the Merchant Marine Code which does give them the right to organise, but does not appear to explicitly recognise the right to collective bargaining.

Limitations on the right to strike: The right to strike is recognised in both the public and private sectors. Three days' strike notice is required and unions must say in advance how long a strike will last. The law allows the government to requisition civil servants in the event of a strike. It also allows the government to declare a strike illegal for specific causes such as a threat to social peace and order.

Trade union rights in practice

Strikes prevented: Some government departments prevent civil servants from going on strike by using the leeway given to them in law to draw up long lists of employees who may be requisitioned.

Anti-union harassment in the Public Service Ministry: The National Trade Union of Workers of the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Administrative Reform (SG/SYNTRA/MFPTRA) has complained that the former Ministry of Public Service and Administrative Reform was divided in two as a means of separating trade union officials from their rank and file members. In May 2005, ten officials from the union were transferred and thus separated from their rank and file members. Union members were also threatened that if they were to engage in any future strike action they would be transferred a long way from the capital. The Ministry also sent a letter to the union in May 2005 stating that permission would only be given for a workers' meeting if the Ministry received the agenda in advance.

Parallel unions: The managers of some companies in the private sector discourage trade unions and support parallel unions instead.

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