Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2018, 16:17 GMT

2010 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Benin

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 - Benin, 9 June 2010, available at: [accessed 18 January 2018]
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: 8,900,000
Capital: Porto Novo
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

The authorities were very aggressive towards the trade unions. Two public sector strikes were ruled illegal. Strikers had their salaries docked, in violation of the legislation. Trade union rights remain highly restricted.

Trade union rights in law

Although basic trade union rights are guaranteed in the law, excessive restrictions are still in place. To obtain legal recognition, unions must deposit their statutes with the competent authorities, or face a fine or prosecution. Workers have the right to bargain collectively, with the exception of merchant shipping employees.

Although the right to strike is recognised in both the public and private sectors, it is marred with restrictions, including a requirement to announce the length of a strike in advance. The government also has the right to declare a strike illegal on specific grounds such as a threat to social peace and order, and can requisition civil servants in the event of a strike.

Trade union rights in practice and violations in 2009

Background: Corruption scandals continued to undermine the country's development.

Right to strike flouted, collective bargaining at a standstill, anti-union attacks and interference: Throughout the year, the authorities maintained a negative attitude in their relations with the trade unions, say union leaders. Two protest actions were declared illegal despite the precautions taken by the unions. The most representative organisations denounced the government's efforts to silence them. In an attempt to stifle criticism of their poor management of the country and the deteriorating socio-economic situation, the government and the Head of State investigated the trade unions' accounts (with the State's General Inspectorate spending several weeks at the trade unions' headquarters). They also backed "patriotic" trade unions and associations. The unions also reproached the authorities for their disregard for social dialogue. Meetings were rushed and constantly delayed, or the representative organisations were not invited, as the main teaching unions found when the National Education Council was set up in September. On 18 December, however, a National Consultation and Collective Bargaining Commission was created.

Demonstrations by national trade union centres banned: On 21 July, a repressive legal measure was put in place to prevent a march to Cotonou, organised by the Confederation of Workers' Unions of Benin (CSTB), the Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions (CSA-Benin), the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Benin (COSI-Benin), the National Union of Workers' Unions of Benin (UNSTB), the General Workers' Confederation of Benin (CGTB) and the Federation of Finance Workers' Unions (FESYNTRA-finances).

General strike banned and salaries withheld: The 48-hour general strike organised on 28 and 29 July by the Benin trade union movement to protest at attacks on trade union rights, and widely followed in the public sector, was again ruled illegal, as was the march organised on 30 July. Threats to dock strikers' pay were carried out.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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