Population: 9,600,000
Capital: Conakry
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

The Intersyndicale trade union coalition condemned the "dark forces" trying to undermine their fight for social justice in Guinea from the outside. Workers and trade union rights were trampled on in the mining industry. 2008 was year of mounting discontent among workers.

Trade union rights in law

Freedom of association: The Labour Code allows all workers, except military and paramilitary personnel, the right to form and join trade unions.

Strike limitations: Workers have the right to strike, but must give ten days' notice, and employers can impose binding arbitration. Strikes are prohibited in essential services, which, as well as hospitals, police and the army, are broadly defined to include transport, radio and television, and communications. These three sectors do not fall under the ILO definition of "essential services" in the strict sense of the term.

No protection from discrimination: The right to collective bargaining is recognised in law. However, the law does not contain any measures to prevent anti-union discrimination or to protect trade unions against interference by employers.

Trade union rights in practice and violations in 2008

Background: A military junta took power at the end of December within hours of the death of President Lansana Conté, whose unpopularity had reached its height during the bloody repression of the 2007 strikes. In May 2008 the President had dismissed his "consensus" Prime Minister, Lansan Kouyate, to the anger of civil society and the trade unions. They saw it as a blatant violation of the 2007 agreements, leading to a suspension of trade union rights and activities. The agreements were on the democratisation and good governance of a country that has become one of the poorest on the continent, despite its vast mining wealth. The mining industry was shaken by several industrial disputes during 2008, with workers, their families and the local population growing increasingly frustrated at the failure to pass on any of the industry's rich profits to the local level.

Attempts to destabilise the trade union movement: Following the 2007 popular protest movement which, despite bloody repression, had led to real hopes of democratisation, the Intersyndicale trade union coalition was faced with all kinds of attempts at destabilising it by the President and his supporters, by the employers, political parties and the government, one of whose tactics was to support yellow unions.

Eight union delegates dismissed during miners' strike: At the beginning of August, management at the West African Mining Company (Société d'exploitation des mines d'Afrique de l'Ouest, SEMAFO, a Canadian group) dismissed eight trade union delegates at the Kiniero gold mine in Upper Guinea. The 330 SEMAFO miners had been on strike for over a month, protesting at the violation of an agreement with management on a new pay scale.

Bloody repression of police officers' strike: On 17 June a strike by police officers was violently repressed by the army. Three police officers were killed and about 100 others arrested. The incident occurred a few weeks after 100 people had been injured in riots provoked by army personnel. In both cases their demands were about pay. The army was the pillar of the former Conté regime, and the President had quickly intervened with measures to calm the soldiers. Neither police officers nor army personnel have the right to strike.

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