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2007 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Congo, Republic of

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 - Congo, Republic of, 9 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c52ca38c.html [accessed 21 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: 3,900,000
Capital: Brazzaville
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

While basic trade union rights are recognised in law, it has proved difficult to exercise them in practice. However, negotiations between the government and the national trade union centres did lead to a significant pay agreement for civil servants at the beginning of the year. The government has not yet introduced the promised new Labour Code.

Trade union rights in law

Freedom of association and collective bargaining recognised: The Constitution and Labour Code recognise the right of workers to join and to form unions, except members of the armed and security forces and the police. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against union members. Unions are free to affiliate to international trade unions. Unions are allowed to undertake collective bargaining.

Workers have the right to strike, subject to conditions established by law. They have to file a letter of intent with the Ministry of Labour, which begins a process of non-binding arbitration under the auspices of the Ministry's regional labour inspector. The letter must include the date for beginning the strike. The strike can legally begin on this date, even if arbitration is not over. Employers have the right to fire workers if they do not give advance notice of a strike.

The government is drawing up a new Labour Code and the ILO has requested that it amend the legislation in consultation with workers' organisations. Notably, it has been requested to define what constitutes the minimum service "indispensable to safeguard" the general interest.

Trade union rights in practice

The unrest and disruption caused by the civil war have created a climate of distrust and made the practice of trade union rights very difficult in recent years.

Anti-union discrimination against CSTC members: The CSTC cites many cases in which its representatives have been demoted or dismissed as a result of their union activities. It points to several cases of the unfair dismissal of employees from the Brazzaville, N'Kayi and Pointe-Noire communes, from "Crédit Agricole et Industriel du Congo" and from Afrique Automobiles, all of which have been brought before the courts.

Collective bargaining: Very little collective bargaining has taken place in practice, largely due to the economic upheaval caused by the civil war. However, three months of negotiations between the Confederation Syndical Congolaise (CSC) and the Confederation Syndicale de Travailleurs du Congo (CSTC) with the government were concluded on 9 January 2006, with an agreement to revoke a Decree of 1995 which reduced salaries of civil servants by 15 percent. Also, the government promised to pay salary arrears for nine out of the twenty accumulated years, between 2006 and 2008.

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