Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 April 2014, 16:25 GMT

2012 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights - Guinea

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 6 June 2012
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2012 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights - Guinea, 6 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fd8894b8.html [accessed 16 April 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: 9,900,000
Capital: Conakry

ILO Core Conventions Ratified:

29 (Forced Labour (1930))
87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise (1948))
98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining (1949))
100 (Equal Remuneration for Work of Equal Value (1951))
105 (Abolition of Forced Labour (1957))
111 (Discrimination in Employment and Occupation (1958))
138 (Minimum Age for Employment (1973))
182 (Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (1999))

Reported Violations – 2012

Attempted Murders: 1
Threats: 1
Injuries: 8

Documented violations – actual number of cases may be higher

Introduction

The eight trade union centres denounced government interference in trade union affairs. The authorities backed a splinter group of the CNTG, the main trade union centre, on the holding of its Congress and the re-election of its executive. The CNTG general secretary, who escaped an attempt on his life, was the target of repeated threats and seven people were injured in an attack on the Labour Exchange, where the CNTG head office is based.

Background

In July, President Alpha Condé, democratically elected at the end of 2010, escaped an attack by military officers. The police and armed forces committed numerous acts of violence during 2011. Political and ethnic tensions remained high. The legislative elections were postponed until 2012. A new Mining Code was passed and is expected to improve the management of Guinea's vast natural resources.

Trade union rights in law

While basic trade union rights are guaranteed, problematic areas exist in the law. Freedom of association is recognised in both the Labour Code and in the new Constitution, which was adopted on 19 April 2010. While union officials are protected against anti-union discrimination, the Labour Code fails to extend this protection to all workers. Workers enjoy the right to strike, but the right is defined as a complete cessation of work for the purpose of vindicating professional claims. This definition excludes in principle industrial action with an economic or a social dimension. Finally, compulsory arbitration can be imposed in essential services, which are broadly defined to include transportation, hospitals, radio and television, and communications.

Link to additional detailed information regarding the legislation on the ITUC website here

In practice

No entry for this country for this year

Violations

Government interference and criminal attacks on CNTG general secretary and head office:

The results of the National Confederation of Guinean Workers (CNTG) congress, held on 24 September, were contested by a group of dissidents, who convened their own congress two days later. According to several reports, most of those taking part in it were not official representatives of the organisation's grassroots unions. The dissidents' congress was broadcast on national television, which made no mention of the legitimate congress held on 24 September.

At the beginning of October, an ITUC mission went to Guinea to listen to the two parties. It concluded that the first congress and the executive it elected were legitimate. The ITUC delegation called for a dialogue between the two parties, to no avail.

At around midnight on the day following the ITUC mission's departure, on 8 October, four hooded men in military uniforms attacked the home of the CNTG general secretary, Amadou Diallo. They started to fire shots from outside the building, leading the two guards to shoot back. The assailants finally fled after a heavy exchange of fire. Amadou Diallo had in the meantime escaped through the back of the property, climbing over a wall topped with broken glass, leaving him with serious cut wounds. The violence used in the attack leaves no room for doubt that the assailants intended to kill the trade union leader.

Amadou Diallo reported that he has received several death threats by telephone since his election at the end of September as the general secretary of the CNTG, as have other leaders of the organisation.

Renewed acts of violence were seen on 17 October. A group of armed people stormed the Labour Exchange housing the CNTG head office in a bid to take over the premises by force and oust the leaders elected by the congress, causing substantial material damage and seriously injuring seven people. The CNTG had alerted the authorities at the first signal that an attack was being planned but, for reasons unknown, they took no preventative action. The police only intervened at the end of the attack and did not arrest any of the assailants.

The CNTG pressed charges with the police, presenting a list of the attackers identified. Action against unknown persons was also filed for the attempted murder of the general secretary. Various factors point to a link between the contesting of the results of the congress and these serious acts of violence.

Also in October, the governor of Conakry asked the leadership of the CNTG to hand back the keys of the Labour Exchange. The leadership refused, stating its reasons. In addition, the dissident group went to the labour court to request that the congress be nullified and the CNTG head office be closed. The CNTG contested that the court was not competent to rule on this matter, basing its argument on several articles of the labour law. Against all expectations, the court ruled that the elections held by both congresses were irregular, thus paralysing the operations of the CNTG. One of the CNTG's bank accounts was frozen. CNTG members met with obstacles in a series of prefectures when trying to return the congress results to the members. Moreover, during recent tripartite negotiations on workers' purchasing power, a representative of the dissident group was reportedly admitted by the authorities as an advisor.

The seven other trade union centres (USTG-ONSLG-UDTG-CGSL-CGTG-UGTG-SIFOG) declared their solidarity with the CNTG. They also denounced the court ruling and the authorities' interference in trade union affairs. At the end of 2011, the CNTG, which had appealed against the labour court ruling, was still occupying its offices at the Labour Exchange.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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