Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2017, 10:22 GMT

2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Mozambique

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 - Mozambique, 8 June 2011, available at: [accessed 15 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: 22,900,000
Capital: Maputo
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

Employers remain predominantly anti-union. Even where collective agreements exist they are not necessarily applied, as security guards found to their cost. Public servants still do not have the right to organise, and the right to strike is restricted.


Free trade union activity is hindered by a number of restrictions. Public servants do not have the right to form and join unions. However, a general law on public servants has been drafted to allow these workers to exercise freedom of association though the draft still excludes some categories of workers, and provides for cumbersome dispute resolution procedures.

Furthermore, the draft law provides for fines for strike pickets that disrupt the normal operation of services. Arbitration is compulsory in essential services, the list of which is very broad and includes activities in the country's export processing zone (EPZ) in Mozal. Finally, the Labour Act allows a strike to be ended by a decision of the mediation and arbitration body, and makes any violation of the articles on the right to work of non-strikers and on minimum services a disciplinary offence, making the striking workers liable to civil and penal sanctions.


Background: On 1 September police opened fire on demonstrators in Maputo marching against the rising price of food and other basics. At least six people were killed, including two children. A total of 13 people died in two days of rioting and more than 140 others were arrested. Mozambique still scores very low on the human development index, ranking 165 out of 169.

Employers – good intentions collectively, ignoring rights individually: Although the Mozambican Workers' Organisation (OTM-CS) considers relations with the social partners are good at the national level, it has asked to be involved more closely in Civil Service pay reforms, recalling the lack of transparency that has prevailed. At the enterprise level, performance is not so good as trade unions have not been able to develop. Employers have continued to show their hostility towards workers' representatives and anti-union discrimination remains a problem as the 2007 Labour Code does not contain sufficiently dissuasive sanctions, while the legal constraints on private gatherings and workers' meetings at the workplace are very strict. Collective agreements are rare and constantly violated, which has led to several industrial disputes. The increasing use of contract labour has made organising more of a challenge for trade unions, who say workers are often unaware of their rights.

Discrimination in the EPZ: The Mozambique Workers' Organisation (OTM-CS) has complained of discrimination against trade unionists in the export processing zones (EPZ) where dismissals of activists and members or violations of collective agreements where they exist occur. Furthermore, the right to strike is very difficult to exercise in practice as the zones are covered by the law on essential services.

Security company breaches collective agreement: At the beginning of January workers at the private security company SINER-Seguranca went on strike over the company's total failure to respect the terms of the collective agreement and to demand payment of wage arrears. The New Year bonus had not been paid nor the backdated pay increase. Workers had been forced to work 12 hour days without overtime and the company had apparently failed to pass on workers' contributions to the social security institute. The workers also complained they did not have proper protective equipment, communications equipment or transport.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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