Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 January 2018, 09:04 GMT

2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Benin

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 8 June 2011
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Benin, 8 June 2011, available at: [accessed 23 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

Strikers had their salaries docked in violation of the legislation. The government banned all demonstrations regarding the disappearance of a high-ranking official, a member of the opposition party and a public-service trade union. The trade unions have reproached government for their disregard for social dialogue. Trade union rights remain severely restricted.


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.


Background: The country celebrated fifty years of independence on 1 August. The country was hit by unprecedented floods in October, causing the deaths of 46 people and leaving more than 150,000 others homeless. Social and political tensions are heavily accentuated in the run-up to the presidential elections scheduled for March 2011.

Demonstration ban perceived as attack on trade union freedom: The Minister of the Interior's decision to ban all demonstrations relating to the disappearance of a high-ranking official, a member of the opposition party and the Syndicat des travailleurs de l'administration cenrale des finances (SYNTRACEF) was criticised by the country's main trade union centres as they consider this an attack on public and trade union freedom. Numerous strikes took place to shed light on this disappearance. On 12 October, the armed forces prevented trade unionists from entering the Bourse du Travail from where a protest march against the ministerial ban was due to start.

Illegal salary deductions and negative social climate: Trade unions have denounced the government's increasing disregard for their rights. There have been numerous strikes in the health and education sector on account of unfulfilled government promises. Negotiation attempts have been marked by a climate of profound distrust and by an escalation of grievances against the government. According to the trade unions, the non-reimbursement of salaries arbitrarily docked during previous strikes has added to this list of grievances. At the end of December, the government threatened to prosecute the leaders of the Front uni des organisations syndicales de la santé (FUOSS) who were striking.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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