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2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Central African Republic

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 8 June 2011
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Central African Republic, 8 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ea6621bc.html [accessed 22 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: 4,400,000
Capital: Bangui
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

The authorities lack of will and slowness to clear the salary backlog caused a breakdown in social dialogue, strikes and anti-union repression. Trade union rights remain severely restricted despite recent legal amendments.

TRADE UNION RIGHTS IN LAW

The new Labour Code that was adopted in January 2009 brought some well-needed but inadequate improvements. Access to union office is still restricted, and foreigners who want to organise face residency requirements of at least two years. In addition, although the Labour Code provides some protection for unions against interference by employers, is does not cover measures aimed at placing unions under economic or other forms of control by the employer.

Trade unions and professional groupings of workers are held in equal standing, and both may negotiate collectively. A strike may only be called in support of work-related demands, and the government reserves the right to requisition workers if deemed in the "general interest". Furthermore, strikes are banned until all conciliation and arbitration procedures have been exhausted.

TRADE UNION RIGHTS IN PRACTICE AND VIOLATIONS IN 2010

Background: This country which acceded to independence fifty years ago is ranked 159th on the Human Development Index. Despite its large mining resources, approximately 70% of the population live below the poverty line. Access to essential services is severely limited and there are constant interruptions to the electricity supply. Armed gangs are rife in several regions. On 24 November, the town of Birao was attacked by rebels. The deterioration of the State is blatant, particularly outside the capital. In reality, it is self-defence forces that stand up to these armed gangs. In December, the United Nations Secretary General called on the authorities to put an end to the culture of impunity and corruption that is undermining the socio-economic development of the country. Presidential and parliamentary elections are due to be held at the beginning of 2011.

Ineffective labour inspection: Labour inspection is virtually non-existent owing to the lack of staff and resources. Travel costs are not reimbursed, as the government itself recognises. Inspections are therefore rare and no inspection reports have ever been made.

Two SOCATEL trade union delegates had their salary withheld: The salaries of two delegates of the Société centrafricaine des telecommunications (SOCATEL) were withheld for three months in retaliation for a strike over salary arrears. Agreement was reached in September. The trade union members were paid and also received a portion of the salary arrears.

Blockage in public service salary negotiations: The authorities lack of will and slowness to clear the salary backlog and to pay civil servants a decent salary caused a breakdown in the trade union negotiations in this sector. Certain workers are owed 30 months' pay. Furthermore, a civil servant's salary is the legal minimum wage which has not increased in over 20 years. At the end of October, the head of State who has set his sights on re-election at the beginning of 2011, proposed to personally pay ten million US dollars to clear a small portion of the arrears.

Unfortunately at the beginning of November, frustrated, as they had received nothing, the civil servants went on strike, the strike was politicised with the opposition supporting the striking workers. At the end of the year, the trade union centres called repeatedly and without success for the release of 65 prisoners of conscience, detained during a banned protest meeting organised by the opposition. The strike continues.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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