Population: 19,300,000
Capital: Yamoussoukro
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

With their harsh repression of demonstrations and imprisonment of trade unionists, the authorities' record on respect of trade union rights remained poor.

Trade union rights in law

The Constitution of 23 July 2000 guarantees the right to form trade unions and the right to strike in both the public and private sectors.

The labour laws give workers, the liberal professions and self-employed workers who do not employ staff, the right to form and join trade unions. Only military personnel and police officers are excluded from these provisions, which is not in contravention of international labour standards. Employers are prohibited from applying pressure either for or against a trade union. Only Côte d'Ivoire nationals, nationals of a country with which reciprocal trade union and worker protection agreements have been concluded, and foreigners who have been legal residents in the country for at least three years, may exercise administrative and managerial functions in a trade union.

Right to strike – restrictions: Strikes are prohibited until a complicated conciliation and mediation procedure has been exhausted and a notice period of six working days has elapsed.

The President of the Republic may, if he considers that the strike could threaten public order or the general interest, submit the dispute to arbitration. This may be the case when "the strike affects an essential service whose interruption could endanger the lives, health or security of all or a part of the population ", and in an "acute national crisis". The Labour Code does not list the services considered to be essential.

In the public sector, the right to strike is also recognised, once again with the obligation to respect the six day notice period. Staggered work stoppages or rolling strikes are prohibited. A minimum service is required, in particular in public hospitals.

Collective bargaining: All workers, with the exception of military personnel and police officers, have the right to collective bargaining. The ILO has noted that the Labour Code does not provide sufficient sanctions to deter employers taking measures against trade unionists for trade union activities.

Trade union rights in practice and Violations in 2007

Background: In March a new peace agreement was signed in Ouagadougou by President Gbagbo and Guillaume Soro, the leader of the New Forces (former Northern Rebels), who became the new Prime Minister of a transitional government. At the end of the year, progress had been made towards a lasting peace, though the political tensions continued to generate a lot of uncertainty. The instability has made the unions' work harder. Collective bargaining agreements have been concluded in most major companies and public sector organisations, but again they were not applied consistently.

Demonstration suppressed: On 30 January, members of the national union representing workers at SOFEDOR (the forestry plantation development company) were attacked by police in front of their company's offices. Three demonstrators were injured. The union had just started a strike to protest against the company's bad management. The anti-union practices of SOFEDOR (arbitrary application of collective agreements and dismissal of three union activists) were criticised in an earlier edition of this Survey.

Five teacher union members imprisoned: On 19 February, five members of the secondary teachers' association CESCI ("Coordination des enseignants du second degree") were imprisoned for "disturbing public order", on the Education Minister's orders. They were released on 8 March, without having been formally charged. The CESCI had begun a strike on 6 February to demand the honouring of the pay increase agreed in 2006. The strike ended on 21 March following an agreement with the Education Ministry.

Strikers charged by security forces: On 12 March, a demonstration by members of the independent trade union of employees of BIP-Assistance, a security firm, who had been on strike since 19 February, was dispersed by force. The union was demanding a risk allowance and the payment of paid holidays and overtime. According to the workers' representatives, the management had refused all negotiations and had rejected a request to meet the Labour Inspectorate.

A doctor's union is placed under supervision: On 31 August, the courts appointed an administrator to take charge of the National Union of Senior Health Service Managers ("Syndicat national des cadres supérieurs de la santé de Côte d'Ivoire", SYNACASS-CI). On 8 August, the organisation had launched a strike by hospital doctors to demand the application of the new salary scale promised by the government and payment of the salaries of recently recruited health service officials. A few days later, the SYNACASS-CI had called off the strike after signing an agreement. The organisation had been placed under official supervision following a complaint by a group of doctors opposed to a property transaction carried out by the union. Though this was a "purely internal" matter, as the government admitted a few days later after cancelling the appointment of the administrator, it led to the renewal and continuation of the strike until mid-September.

Government interference in the work of a teachers' union: At the end of the year, the office of the "Syndicat National des Enseignants du Second Degré (National Union of Secondary Education Teachers – SYNESCI) was still being occupied. As mentioned in last year's Survey, on 4 May 2006 the authorities had occupied the headquarters of the SYNESCI because the Ministry of Education had doubts as to the legitimacy of its General Secretary. SYNESCI members have been subjected to intimidation and harassment for years.

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