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2009 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Central African Republic

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 - Central African Republic, 11 June 2009, available at: [accessed 13 December 2017]
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: 4,400,000
Capital: Bangui
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

Trade union demands are never respected and when "social dialogue" does actually take place, usually prompted by a strike, it leads nowhere. A teachers' union leader was sacked.

Trade union rights in law

Limits on freedom of association: Freedom of association is guaranteed by the Constitution. The Labour Code allows almost all workers to join trade unions, without prior authorisation. However, state employees in high-level posts are not allowed to join a union. A person who has lost the status of worker, either because s/he is unemployed or has retired, cannot in principle belong to a trade union or take part in its leadership or administration. Trade union officers must belong to the occupation their union represents.

Collective bargaining and union protection: The Labour Code does not specifically recognise the right to bargain collectively, but does protect workers from employer interference in the administration of a union.

Complicated strike procedures: The right to strike is recognised in both the public and private sectors, but is curtailed by complicated procedures. In the event of a dispute, there has to be conciliation between labour and management. If conciliation does not work, an arbitration council must rule that the union and the employer failed to agree on valid demands, and only then may a strike be called. If a union calls a strike, only its members can join in the action. The government reserves the right to requisition workers if it is in the "general interest". The Labour Code does not include sanctions against employers for acting against strikers.

Trade union rights in practice and violations in 2008

Background: The general strike led the government to resign. President Bozizé appointed Faustin Archange Toudéra as Prime Minister. Peace talks began in December, in this country weighed down by corruption, armed conflict in the north and rising poverty, between the government, the opposition and the rebel groups. The great majority of workers are in the informal economy, posing a tough challenge for trade union organisers.

Constant violations of social dialogue in the public sector and the dismissal of a leader during a general strike: A long public sector general strike began on 2 January, called by the six main national trade union centres to protest at the violation of the agreements reached in October 2007 following an earlier strike. It has been a recurring event in the Central African Republic for many years: government promises are never respected, while threats of repression are frequently carried out.

Thierry Zouma, General Secretary of the Teachers' Association, was removed from his post. The civil servants were demanding the unfreezing of their salaries and the payment of arrears (four months since 2007 and 40 months for preceding periods). The strike was suspended on 23 February as a goodwill gesture after further promises. At the end of the year, disappointed by the government's lack of will to meet their demands, the trade unions threatened to resume their strike at the beginning of 2009, protesting, furthermore, at the persecution of their members.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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