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2009 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Congo, Republic of

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 11 June 2009
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2009 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Congo, Republic of, 11 June 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c52caf6c.html [accessed 1 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: 3,800,000
Capital: Brazzaville
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

Employers in both the private sector and in education showed their contempt for the trade unions.

Trade union rights in law

Freedom of association: The Constitution and Labour Code recognise the right of workers to join and form unions, except members of the armed and security forces and the police. Some public administration employees are also excluded from the scope of the Labour Code. The law bans anti-union discrimination and interference in union affairs. This is not backed up by any effective or rapid procedures however, and the sanctions are not dissuasive enough to ensure application.

Collective bargaining: Unions are allowed to undertake collective bargaining. The deduction of trade union dues from employees' pay is excluded from negotiations.

Right to strike: Workers have the right to strike, provided all conciliation and non-binding arbitration procedures have been exhausted, and due notice has been given. The law also imposes the continuation of a minimum service in public services as "essential for protecting the general interest". This minimum service is organised by the employer and refusal to take part is considered gross misconduct. According to the ILO, such a service should be limited to operations strictly necessary for meeting the basic needs of the population, and should be negotiated by the parties to the dispute.

Trade union rights in practice and violations in 2008

Background: The worsening of the conflict in the east of the country has forced thousands of workers and trade unionists to flee. Violence, particularly against women, persists. Many abuses have been reported, including many rapes against women workers.

Intimidation of teachers' unions: After the union group "Dialogue for Upgrading the Teaching Profession" (Concertation pour la revalorisation de la profession d'enseignant – CRPE) called a strike in September the government told the union leaders it would set up a commission to negotiate with them. At the same time, the Congolese Human Rights Observatory (OCDH) denounced the attacks and intimidation regularly meted out to activists in the education unions. Teachers' unions "are being accused of undermining peace and national unity because of the demands". The events were reminiscent of the harassment of Guy Serge Bakala, a teacher at the Tchikaya college in Pointe-Noire, arrested and interrogated by police for distributing trade union tracts to his colleagues calling for a strike, and accused of being in the service of a political opponent.

Persistent refusal of Loutété cement works to enter into real social dialogue: In an article describing working conditions in Chinese enterprises, Jean-Marie Nkina, a labour inspector, criticised the persistent refusal of the cement company Société nouvelle des ciments du Congo (SONOCC) in Loutété to enter into genuine social dialogue. In 2006, 40 employees at the cement workers were dismissed for trying to form a union. In May 2007, 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 representatives that he was able to manipulate as he wished.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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