Last Updated: Friday, 26 December 2014, 13:50 GMT

2010 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Gabon

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 9 June 2010
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2010 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Gabon, 9 June 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c4fec7bc.html [accessed 28 December 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: 1,500,000
Capital: Libreville
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 182

The trade unions denounced several unfair measures aimed at undermining the right to strike and the exercise of trade union rights. Lengthy strikes paralysed the public sector.

Trade union rights in law

Freedom of association and the right to strike are guaranteed in the Constitution. However, the provisions in the Labour Code are somewhat lacking, although public servants have the right to organise. Anti-union discrimination is not expressly prohibited in law, but the courts can award compensation to employees who have been victims of such discrimination.

The authorities are not permitted to interfere in lawful strikes, which must be preceded by arbitration. Although workers in the public sector have the right to call a strike, it can be restricted if deemed to pose a threat to public safety.

Trade union rights in practice and violations in 2009

Background: President Omar Bongo died on 11 May after 40 years in power. At the beginning of September his son Ali Ben Bongo was declared the winner of the presidential election. The opposition challenged the hasty holding of the election whose timing was bound to favour the former President's camp. The new strong man promised to introduce social reform to curb persistent poverty in a country that has benefited from oil earnings for a long time.

Serious restrictions on freedom of association: On 19 October at his first council of ministers meeting, new President Ali Bongo Ondimba asked for the "strict application" of the law on trade union rights. He restricted the right to strike, by insisting that strike days would no longer be paid. According to the law, however, pay should not be docked when the strike is linked to demands for pay arrears, as was the case for the lengthy strikes that took place during the year. Furthermore, trade union leaders can no longer combine their role in running their unions with a post as a servant of the State. A representative of the National Convention of Education Unions (CONASYSED) stated that this amounts to an attack on freedom of association insofar as in his own sector, for example, most members of the union executive work in education full-time and their union activities are inevitably ad hoc.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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