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Monday, June 20, 2011

ITUC decries labour suppression in Africa:

The International Trade Union (ITUC) has declared that  the violations of trade union rights in the world as revealed by its survey report has shown the difficulties for trade union activities have far from reduce in Africa in 2010. 
The international labour centre also noted that the annual survey of violations of trade union rights in the world revealed the difficulties for trade union activities that have far from reduce in Africa in 2010 as trade union rights continue to be flouted. 
ITUC General Secretary, Sharon Burrow while speaking on how the 2011 annual survey of violations of trade union rights in the world make it difficult to be a trade unionist in Africa said that “despite all of these difficulties, millions of women and men in Africa maintain their commitment to trade union action or are discovering its benefits. 
“Everything possible must be done to ensure that the fundamental trade union rights of African workers are respected”.
According to her, in Africa, the implementation of labour laws, where they exist, remains problematic. She said over 2,500 people have been arrested this year and more than 1,000 people have lost their jobs on account of their trade union activities.
Swaziland is one of the most repressive countries for trade union rights since the state of emergency has been in place in 1973 and constitutional freedoms have been suspended, he said. 
According to Burrow, Zimbabwe is undoubtedly the most dangerous African country for trade unionists, since Robert Mugabe’s regime systematically violates and represses trade union rights. 
She regretted that arrests, detentions, violence and torture are the sad daily reality for trade unionists.
On June 6, 2011, for example, she said Harare police chiefs forbade the Congrès des syndicats du Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe- ZCTU) from commemorating Hwange Colliery, and the 1973 mining disaster which killed 427 miners. 
In Djibouti, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) expressed its deep concern at the government’s complete lack of goodwill to settle cases of trade unions, violations.
She noted that In South Africa, trade unions had to contend with severe repression and police violence throughout the year. 
Some demonstrations in Zambia, Mauritania and Algeria were suppressed using real bullets.
The non-respect of unions and collective bargains in addition to difficulties joining a union in the export processing zones (EPZs) are big challenges to overcome. 
In Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and Togo, many employers refuse to recognise trade unions and unionised workers are often victims of abuse and harassment, Burro said.
She said joining a trade union in Africa is not easy. 
In Sudan, the Labour Code does not recognise trade union freedoms and there is only one state-controlled trade union. 
Judicial restrictions impede independent trade unionism, particularly in Botswana and Lesotho. 
When the trade unions can organise freely, the proliferation of trade unions can be problematic. 
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, employers and the government encourage the formation of hundreds of trade unions which has weakened the trade unions. The formation of “yellow” trade unions, favourable to employers in Burundi and Ethiopia has also been denounced in the ILO survey.
Source: Daily Independent, June 12, 2011

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