ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 182
A coalition of education unions denounced the authoritarian excesses of their supervisory board. Expatriate contractual teachers were singled out after a strike at the beginning of the school year in October. Two union leaders at the Libreville Town Hall were held in prison for over three months.
TRADE UNION RIGHTS IN LAW
Freedom of association and the right to strike are guaranteed in the Constitution. However, the provisions in the Labour Code are somewhat lacking, although public servants have the right to organise. Anti-union discrimination is not expressly prohibited in law, but the courts can award compensation to employees who have been victims of such discrimination.
The authorities are not permitted to interfere in lawful strikes, which must be preceded by arbitration. Although workers in the public sector have the right to call a strike, it can be restricted if deemed to pose a threat to public safety.
TRADE UNION RIGHTS IN PRACTICE AND VIOLATIONS IN 2010
Background: Social reform and tackling corruption, which the government claims are its priorities, are all the more necessary in a country where one person in three lives in poverty, despite healthy oil revenues.
Two trade union leaders held in prison for over three months: Alexandre Nzengui, President of the Libreville Town Hall Workers' Union (SYAML) and Olui Nzué Memine, General Secretary of Action for Municipal Renewal (ARM), were held in preventive detention from 22 July to 27 October for "obstructing the freedom to work" and "destruction of the real estate of a third party". The arrests took place against a background of tense industrial relations. The municipal employees had carried out several strikes since January to protest against delays in paying their salaries and the non-payment of social charges, deducted at source by the Town Hall. At the beginning of April, strikers had placed, in the main hall of the Town Hall, the body of a colleague who had died, they claimed, because he had not received the care he needed due to the delayed payments.
Authoritarian excesses in the education sector: On 10 November the Minister of Education, Séraphin Moundounga, announced that he wanted teachers who had taken part in a strike at the beginning of the school year in October to appear before a disciplinary council. The decision concerned 18 expatriate members of the Executive Board of the Union of Contractual Teachers of Gabon (SECEG). The SECEG has hundreds of expatriate teachers among its members who feel they have been discriminated against because they cannot benefit from a new incentive bonus for teachers. The other union that called a strike, the National Convention of Education Sector Unions (CONASYDED) had repeatedly complained of the authoritarian excesses of the supervisory authorities, in particular its refusal to continue dialogue with "illegal" organisations. CONASYDED maintains that all its member unions are legally recognised.
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