Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2017, 16:28 GMT

2012 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights - Guinea Bissau

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 Bissau, 6 June 2012, available at: [accessed 18 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: 1,515,000
Capital: Bissau

ILO Core Conventions Ratified:

29 (Forced Labour (1930))
98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining (1949))
100 (Equal Remuneration for Work of Equal Value (1951))
105 (Abolition of Forced Labour (1957))
138 (Minimum Age for Employment (1973))
182 (Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (1999))

Reported Violations – 2012

Murders: none reported
Attempted Murders: none reported
Threats: none reported
Injuries: none reported
Arrests: none reported
Imprisonments: none reported
Dismissals: none reported

Documented violations – actual number of cases may be higher


Trade union rights are guaranteed in law, but without sufficient protection, notably for collective bargaining rights. The law is not respected and the environment is still largely anti-union.


The EU suspended part of its aid to Guinea-Bissau in January because of concerns over governance and the rule of law. All along the year, there was increasing unrest. In May teachers went on strike over wage arrears, in July and August, thousands took the streets to protest at rising food prices and civil servants demonstrated against austerity measures in November.

Trade union rights in law

Restrictions exist despite fundamental trade rights being granted; all workers have the right to form and join trade unions. However, the provisions in the Labour Code on anti-union discrimination are inadequate as they only protect trade union delegates and are not coupled with sufficiently dissuasive sanctions.

Most wages are established in bilateral negotiations between workers and employers, but a tripartite National Council for Social Consultation holds consultations on wages and employment legislation. Finally, workers have the right to strike and are protected by law from employer retaliation.

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

In practice

Violent suppression: The country has a history of violently suppressing trade union activity, which as the ILO has pointed out constitutes a serious obstacle to the free exercise of trade union rights.

Collective bargaining weak: There is little proof of collective bargaining in the country. The government has consistently failed to respond to ILO requests to show it is taking measures to improve collective bargaining in the public and private sectors and has not yet adopted legislation regulating the collective bargaining rights of public servants.


No entry for this country for this year

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