Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 July 2014, 14:56 GMT

2008 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Togo

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 - Togo, 20 November 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c52ca69c.html [accessed 22 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: 6,600,000
Capital: Lomé
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

In November, police prevented a demonstration by one of the ITUC's affiliates.

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. This matter has been raised repeatedly by the ILO Committee of Experts which has highlighted the need for workers in EPZ to benefit from trade union rights.

Trade union rights in practice and Violations in 2007

Background: The general elections in October, considered to have been free and fair by international observers, were won by the ruling People's Party ("Rassemblement du peuple togolais"). A few weeks later, the European Union announced the normalisation of its relations with Togo following 14 years of economic sanctions.

Some initial arrangements for social dialogue were made in 2006, after union centres had insisted that these were needed and threatened strikes. A protocol agreement had been signed and a National Social Dialogue Council set up, but there have been few developments since then.

On 8 September, in Lomé, police prevented the holding of a demonstration called by the Confédération syndicale des travailleurs du Togo (CSTT). The police occupied the CSTT head office, where the march was to start from, and square Anani Santos, where the meeting was to be held, thereby preventing the demonstration from being held. The CSTT had informed the competent authorities of its plan to hold the demonstration, in accordance with the legal requirements. The CSTT had never been informed that the demonstration was banned. For several months the unions had been threatening the government that they would organise protests, since several promises had not been held.

In general anti-union attitudes prevail in the EPZs, despite the prohibition of anti-union discrimination.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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