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2008 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Mozambique

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 20 November 2008
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2008 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Mozambique, 20 November 2008, available at: [accessed 24 November 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: 21,400,000
Capital: Maputo
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

A striker was killed by security guards in a sugar cane plantation. The right to collective bargaining is widely flouted.

Trade union rights in law

New Labour Code: After its promulgation on 1 August, the new Labour Code came into force on 30 October. It recognises the right of public servants and state officials in the public administration to organise, and covers the central institutions of the public administration, local state bodies and authorities, public institutions and other subordinate or dependent institutions. However it excludes firefighters, members of the judicial authorities and prison guards from the right to establish and join organisations.

Non-compliance with international labour standards: The ILO's Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) has observed that the draft Code in its Section 189 provided for compulsory arbitration in case of essential services, however this included services not essential in the strict sense of the term, such as postal services, the petroleum sector, meteorological services, and loading and unloading of cattle and perishable goods. The provisions in the code concerning the right to strike also need to be amended to bring it up to ILO standards, removing the time limit on the right to strike and ensuring that responsibility for declaring a strike illegal lies with an independent authority.

Furthermore, the CEACR has noted that although the draft Code prohibits acts of anti-union discrimination and acts of interference, it did not provide sufficiently dissuasive sanctions and requested that they be included. The CEACR also requested that the draft law allow public servants who are not engaged in the administration of the State to bargain collectively.

Trade union rights in practice and Violations in 2007

Background: Despite the strong economic growth in recent years, coupled with macro-economic and political stability, all of which have been welcomed by the IFIs, the country remains one of the poorest in the world. Income disparities increased amongst a population that was again hit by natural disasters (flooding of the Zambezi and cyclone Favio in early 2007), irregular harvests, malaria and HIV-AIDS.

Employers block union activity: The OTM-CS has in recent years reported frequent trade union rights' violations by employers who try to stop the unions from protecting their workers, and do not comply with collective agreements or with state legislation to protect them from being sacked. Union officials are threatened with dismissal, and union members have been dismissed under false pretences. Employers also carry out misinformation campaigns about unions and prevent organisers from entering premises to carry out recruitment campaigns.

Laws preventing public meetings without written permission hinder trade unions' ability to operate freely.

Unionists discriminated against in export processing zones: Unionists face discrimination and unfair dismissal, and workers are dismissed for going on strike. Collective agreements are not respected, nor is the principle of equal pay for equal work.

Collective bargaining rights flouted: In July, the 25 employees of the engineering firm Vulcan Iron Works in Maputo went on strike in protest at their employer's failure to honour the collective agreement, which stipulates that negotiations should take place each year to discuss possible improvements to working conditions and wages.

The workers at this engineering workshop are, in fact, in a somewhat exceptional position. A report by the Ministry of Labour on inspections showed that of the 522 companies visited just 16 had signed a collective agreement with their employees. The least fortunate include the employees of Golden Roses, a horticultural firm, who held a protest in October in Moamba to ask the local authorities to get their employer to negotiate with them. The hundred or so workers had been recruited in distant provinces to replace others who had preferred to leave their jobs owing to the awful working conditions. Having been alerted, the Chief Labour Inspector was refused entry to the company. Later on, with police assistance, he succeeded in entering the site but the manager refused to meet him. The Labour Inspectorate subsequently closed the company down.

Striker killed by security guards in a plantation: On 16 July, Domingos Chanjane, a 23-year old agricultural worker was killed by a bullet wound and three others were injured, including two seriously, when a strike was suppressed at the sugar cane plantation in Mafambisse (Sofala province). The plantation's security guards used rubber bullets to break up the crowd of strikers, who claim not to have been seeking confrontation. Shortly after these dramatic events, the police turned up and managed to calm down the angry strikers. The workers say that the person who shot their colleague is called Cardoso Equivale, the head of security and also a member of the local police, which the provincial authorities deny. It should be stressed that Domingos Chanjane was hit by real bullets. The strike had started a few hours earlier, in protest at the non-application of the agreements reached between the management and the national sugar industry union (Sinidicato National dos trabalhadores da industria do acucar, SINTIA) on improving the working conditions of the 4,000 seasonal workers. At the end of the year it seems the investigation was not yet over.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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