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2010 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Madagascar

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 - Madagascar, 9 June 2010, available at: [accessed 17 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: 19,600,000
Capital: Antananarivo
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

As the country became mired in a major political crisis, trade union rights were even less of a priority for its rulers. Much of the labour law and trade union rights are determined by decree, and is not favourable to trade unions.

Trade union rights in law

Although the Labour Code provides for basic trade union rights, it also contains excessive restrictions. It is complemented by decrees. Both private and public sector workers have the right to join and form unions, except for seafarers and workers in essential services, the list of which exceeds the ILO definition. The establishment, organisation and operation of trade unions is determined by decree, and unions must provide lists of all their members, which exposes them to the possibility of anti-union abuse.

Industrial disputes must go through conciliation, mediation, and arbitration procedures determined by the authorities. Furthermore, state employees are not allowed to strike due to Article 33 of the 2007 Constitution, which stipulates that "the right to strike is recognised without prejudice to the principle of continuity of public services or to the security and essential needs of the Nation", a provision that does not explicitly exclude private sector employees either. The authorities also have broad powers to requisition public employees in essential services.

Trade union rights in practice and violations in 2009

Background: Dozens of civilians were killed in the repression of opposition demonstrations at the beginning of the year. In March, Andry Rajoelina assumed power, with military backing. Attempts at international mediation and the formation of a transition government failed. In December, the country's new leader announced legislative elections for March 2010. The political crisis had serious socio-economic repercussions. Fears about the precariousness of many jobs were justified, first owing to the impact of the world economic crisis and then at the very end of the year the withdrawal of the trade preferences granted by the United States under the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) for failure to respect the democracy criteria.

Export Processing Zones: No serious violations were reported. According to the trade unions, the recent complaint lodged with the ILO further to a new law allowing for excessive overtime and night work by women raised awareness, and employers have become more respectful of the trade unions. In recent years, most cases of discrimination against union members concerned employers in zones where union presence was low. It is estimated that the zones have generated 100,000 direct jobs and 400,000 indirect jobs.

Trade union rights often ignored: The predominance of subsistence agriculture and the informal sector as well as the authorities' relative indifference to and the employers' contempt for trade union activities all help ensure that labour legislation only applies to a small minority of workers. Over recent years the trade unions have complained of the opacity of the agreements concluded between the authorities and the mining companies. According to a report published in October 2009 by the Workers' Conference of Madagascar (CTM) and the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung (FES), most collective agreements have been signed in public enterprises. With privatisation, however, many have become obsolete (rail, telecommunications, energy, etc.).

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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