Population: 1,300,000
Capital: Libreville
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 182

Gabon's record on respecting trade union rights is scarcely brilliant. The right to strike is hampered by excessively strict restrictions.

Trade union rights in law

Right to join trade unions: All workers have the right freely to form and become members of the trade union of their choice. Trade unions must be registered to obtain official recognition.

Right to strike – limitations: Workers in the public sector can join a trade union and have the right to strike, however that right is restricted where it poses a threat to public safety.

A strike may only be started following eight days' advance notice and after arbitration has failed. The Labour Code prohibits the government from intervening directly against strikers who adhere to the arbitration and notification procedures.

Discrimination against trade unions: The law does not expressly prohibit discrimination against trade unions. However, the courts can order employers that are found guilty of discrimination to compensate the employees concerned.

Trade union rights in practice and Violations in 2007

Background: Though more stable and richer, thanks to oil revenues, that most other countries of sub-Saharan Africa, Gabon is not managing to reduce the vast gulf in incomes between the minority of the population that is benefiting more and more from the mining of the country's natural resources and the poor majority whose purchasing power fell considerably in 2007.

Widespread anti-union harassment: Trade unionists in both the public and private sectors are often discriminated against. They are regularly harassed or simply dismissed. The Gabonese Confederation of Trade Unions (CGSL) has reported many cases in recent years of arbitrary arrests of its members, and even of imprisonment on trumped up charges. The government also ignores the elected leadership of the CGSL, appointing workers' representatives of its own choosing to tripartite bodies.

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