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2008 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Congo, Republic of

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 - Congo, Republic of, 20 November 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c52ca9928.html [accessed 31 August 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: 3,800,000
Capital: Brazzaville
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

The new Labour Code is still being drafted. The lack of democracy and corruption have made it difficult to enforce trade union rights.

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 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.

A new Labour Code is being drawn up: For several years the ILO has been asking the government to amend its legislation in consultation with workers' organisations. It specifically urged it to define what constitutes the minimum service "indispensable to safeguard" the general interest. The unions have confirmed that the Labour Code is currently being revised and that they are involved in that work through the National Advisory Committee.

Trade union rights in practice and Violations in 2007

Background: The party of President N'Guesso won 90% of the votes in elections marred by irregularities and boycotted by some sections of the opposition. Although the country is one of the main oil producers in sub-Saharan Africa, 70% of the population live below the poverty line.

The democratic deficit and the aftermath of the civil war have generated a climate of mistrust that has made it very hard to enforce trade union rights in recent years.

Anti-union behaviour in a Chinese company: Employees of cement company « Société nouvelle des ciments du Congo (SONOCC) » reported the persistence of disgraceful working conditions and the refusal by the Chinese management to allow them to organise. In 2006, 40 of their colleagues had been dismissed for trying to form a union. In May, during a visit by President N'Guesso, several workers explained to journalists that their employer was still not allowing them to elect representatives and had himself chosen staff reps that he was able to manipulate as he wished. According to the national Confédération syndicale congolaise (CSC) things were calming down, however.

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