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2007 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Togo

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 - Togo, 9 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c52ca08c.html [accessed 23 July 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: 5,100,000
Capital: Lomé
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

A new Labour Code was adopted in December 2006, which removes a few of the weaknesses in the 1974 Code. There needs to be better protection of the right to strike in law, and better respect for trade union rights in practice.

Trade union rights in law

New Labour Code – small improvements: Togo adopted a new Labour Code in December 2006. The 1974 Labour Code had been under revision since 1995 following an explicit request of the World Bank.

The 1974 Labour Code prevented foreign workers from holding leadership posts in trade unions, but under the new code migrant workers can take up such posts provided they are legally established in the country. The new code also specifically states that a person may join a union without the express permission of their spouse, which in practice improves the right of women to join unions. The protection of trade union representatives is strengthened through the provision that their dismissal must be approved by the labour inspector.

Existing rights: Workers have the right to join unions and to strike, apart from members of security services, fire workers and the police. Public sector health workers are allowed to join unions but not to strike.

Anti-union discrimination is prohibited.

Weaknesses: There is no provision protecting strikers against reprisal measures.

Nominally, the right to collective bargaining exists, but this is limited to a single nationwide agreement that must be negotiated and endorsed by representatives of the government as well as trade unions and employers. The agreement sets nationwide wage standards for all employees in the formal economy.

Export processing zones: The law provides exemptions from some provisions of the Labour Code for companies with export processing zone (EPZ) status, notably the regulations on hiring and firing. Employees of EPZ companies do not enjoy the same protection against anti-union discrimination as other workers.

Trade union rights in practice

Collective bargaining has regularly been undermined by the economic situation, with salary and pension arrears for some public officers running into many months.

Tripartite discussions took place involving the Intersyndicale des Travailleurs du Togo (ISTT), made up of five national union centres, leading to a tripartite protocol on 11 May 2006. Six months later the Intersyndicale considered that the government had failed to implement the agreement and announced a general strike. The strike was called off after an ad hoc commission was created on 28 November to implement the agreement, including a framework for social dialogue, upgrading of salaries and payment of arrears.

In general anti-union attitudes prevail, despite the prohibition on anti-union discrimination.

In practice it is not possible to set up unions in the EPZs.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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