Central African Republic
Population: 3 900 000
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 - 87 - 98 - 100 - 105 - 111 - 138 - 182
A protest meeting by customs officers was the subject of police intimidation. There is no collective bargaining in the public sector, only consultation. When civil servants went on strike in support of their demands, President Bozize intervened personally to end it, calling for a resumption of dialogue. Their problems remained unresolved however.
Trade union rights in law
Limits on freedom of association: Freedom of association is guaranteed by the Constitution. The Labour Code allows almost all workers to join trade unions, without prior authorisation. However, state employees in high-level posts are not allowed to join a union. A person who has lost the status of worker, either because s/he is unemployed or has retired, cannot in principle belong to a trade union or take part in its leadership or administration. Trade union officers must belong to the occupation their union represents.
Complicated strike procedures: The right to strike is recognised in both the public and private sectors, but is curtailed by complicated procedures. In the event of a dispute, there has to be conciliation between labour and management. If conciliation does not work, an arbitration council must rule that the union and the employer failed to agree on valid demands, and only then may a strike be called. If a union calls a strike, only its members can join in the action. The government reserves the right to requisition workers if it is in the "general interest". The Labour Code does not include sanctions against employers for acting against strikers.
Collective bargaining and union protection: The Labour Code does not specifically recognise the right to bargain collectively, but does protect workers from employer interference in the administration of a union.
Trade union rights in practice
Union meetings restricted: Unions complain that employers prevent union meetings at the workplace.
Collective bargaining minimal: In the civil service, the government sets wages after consultation, but no negotiation with the unions. In the private sector, collective bargaining has played a role in setting wages.
In January 2006 President Bozize intervened personally to end a two-month strike by civil servants. He called for the resumption of dialogue with the civil servants and promised to “monitor” the problem of salary arrears. However, by 31 December 2006, civil servants were facing arrears of 45 months.
Violations in 2006
Background: Rebel attacks continued in the north of the country. Human rights defenders, including trade unionists, have suffered from the government’s crackdown on potential opponents, being subjected to arrest and cruel treatment.
Police intimidation: Police surrounded the Labour Exchange (the national trade union headquarters) on 6 September, the day the Syndicat des Douanes de Centrafrique (SYNDOUCAF), affiliate of the USTC, called for an extraordinary general assembly. The meeting was held to discuss the possibility of legal action against the government after the decision by President Bozize to dissolve the National Customs Administration. As a result of the heavy police presence, only 72 customs officers showed up at the meeting.