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2008 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Burkina Faso

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 20 November 2008
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2008 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Burkina Faso, 20 November 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c52ca9f37.html [accessed 20 September 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: 12,800,000
Capital: Ouagadougou
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

A large number of activists were moved from their posts for taking part in protest actions. The revision of the Labour Code started.

Trade union rights in law

The Constitution of Burkina Faso guarantees freedom of association for all persons. Trade union rights can be freely exercised and the right to strike is specifically guaranteed.

The Labour Code 2004 recognises the right of workers to form and join trade unions. Members of the army, police and other security personnel are not granted this right, but this is not a violation of ILO Convention 87.

Right to strike restricted: The right to strike is recognised. However, the 2004 Labour Code contains a very restrictive definition of the right to strike, stating in article 351 that any stoppage of work that does not correspond to an occupational claim is illegal. This provision, and its use to sanction workers who take strike action on any other issue, prompted six national trade union confederations to file a complaint with the ILO in May 2006. The ILO has recommended that the government amend this section of the law to change this very narrow definition of the right to strike.

The government also has the right to requisition civil servants in the event of a strike. This can be applied to all civil servants, not just those who exercise authority in the name of the state or those whose work, if interrupted, would endanger life or safety. The ILO has recommended to the government that it should limit its powers to requisition public workers to these very specific circumstances and to make it clear which jobs could be subject to requisitioning in the event of strikes. In addition, some state employees are banned from striking, notably uniformed personnel. The 2004 Labour Code bans solidarity strikes and political strikes. Magistrates do not have the right to strike

Collective bargaining: Unions have the right to engage in collective bargaining on wages and other working conditions.

Union rights of apprentices: There is no explicit provision in the Labour Code guaranteeing the union rights of employed minors who are at least 15 years old.

Revision of the Labour Code: Work began in September with the collaboration of the social partners.

Trade union rights in practice and Violations in 2007

Background: Though regarded as a "good pupil" by the IMF, which praised the "tight budgetary policies" pursued in 2006 and 2007, Burkina Faso remains one of the poorest countries in the world. In May, the general elections were again won by the President's party. Social unrest continued throughout the year owing to the spiralling prices.

March by magistrates banned: The magistrates' union (Syndicat burkinabé des magistrats, SBM) did not receive permission from the authorities to hold a march on 27 April to deliver a memorandum to the Minister of Justice, on the grounds that magistrates are "not allowed to strike". The magistrates' demands were for improvements to their living and working conditions and an autonomous status.

Employees moved from their posts and sit-in suppressed by the Treasury: At the end of May, 82 members of the national Treasury Employees Union (Syndicat des agents du Trésor du Burkina, SATB) were moved from their posts after calling for several months for a fairer handling of the bonuses system, which discriminated against them compared to other, non-statutory employees. On 1 June, a sit-in by the SATB at the Directorate-General of the Treasury was broken up by security forces using violence.

Employees moved from their posts at the Foreign Affairs Ministry: On 23 May, 140 civil servants were moved from their posts for taking part in a protest march organised on 10 April by the independent union of employees of the Foreign Affairs Ministry (Syndicat autonome des agents du ministère des Affaires étrangères, SAMAE) to demand better working conditions.

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