5 – No guarantee of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

Algeria

The ITUC affiliate in Algeria is the Union Générale des Travailleurs Algériens (UGTA).

In practice

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Contract teachers’ protest violently suppressed21-03-2016

On 21 March 2016, in Algiers, a sit-in being held by contract teachers in front of the Education Ministry was violently dispersed by the police. The teachers were responding to the call of the Comité des Enseignants Contractuels et Vacataires (Committee of Contractual and Replacement Teachers). The teachers, some of whom have been in their jobs for 10 to 15 years, have been demanding permanent posts for several years. The demonstrators who refused to move were beaten. According to Human Rights Watch, two women teachers were kicked by police officers. The ITUC, which lent its support to the demonstrators, reported that one of them, Fullah Jalal, had suffered a fracture to her leg. Around thirty teachers who had taken refuge at the Maison des Syndicats and spent the night there were arrested on 22 March, at dawn, and taken to the police station in Mohammedia. They were released at the end of the day.

The protest movement spread. In the Kabylie region, hundreds of contract teachers rallied in Bejaia, from where they began a march to Algiers on 27 March. Many others joined them on route. After over 200km, there were between a thousand and two thousand marchers. But on 4 April, in Boudouaou, on the outskirts of Algiers, the police forced the teachers to end their march. A number of them subsequently embarked on a hunger strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
.

These actions were strongly supported by the most active teachers’ unions.

Several trade unionists and human rights activists arrested at the Maison des Syndicats 06-02-2016

On 6 February 2016, at around 10.30 a.m., on the orders of the Wali (governor) of Algiers, several hundred police officers surrounded the Maison des Syndicats in Bab Ezzouar, to the east of Algiers, to prevent the holding of a meeting to discuss the country’s social, economic and political situation. Several people were arrested, including Lofti Allam, president of the Syndicat National du Transport (SNATT), and human rights activists, Salah Dabouz, president of the Algerian human rights defence league, LADDH, and Hacène Ferhati of SOS Disparus (SOS Disappeared).

Tripartite dialogue, a national illusion. International pressure stepped up31-12-2015

The International Labour Organisation, through its two supervisory bodies, the Committee on Freedom of Association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
and the Committee on the Application of Standards, has stepped up its pressure on the Algerian government. In June, the latter requested it to speed up the processing of the applications submitted by several trade unions for registration and to reinstate the public service employees dismissed on account of their trade union activities.

In a letter addressed to the Labour Ministry on 11 February, the ITUC reiterated its indignation at the discriminatory treatment of 25 court clerks who were suspended following the holding of a legitimate strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
in April 2012. The employees were reinstated but were forced to transfer and have not been able to claim their rights retroactively. The European Parliament and Human Rights Watch have denounced the repression directed at labour rights activists. In October, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EuroMed Rights) registered the unfair dismissals or suspensions of 43 members of unions affiliated to the SNAPAP and the Confédération Générale Autonome des Travailleurs en Algérie (CGATA). The CGATA, which has been affiliated to the ITUC since 2014, had still not been recognised by the authorities in 2015. Despite its undeniable representativeness in the public service, it was not, for example, invited to take part in the national tripartite dialogue in October. The refusal to accept the principle of trade union elections, moreover, makes it impossible to know the weight of each organisation, which facilitates the authorities’ discrimination of independent trade unions.

Restrictions on trade union freedoms worse than ever in public service15-06-2015

Whilst the concerns of Algerian public servants continue to grow as they watch their purchasing power go into free fall, state revenues cut by half in one year and await the probable drastic staff cuts, any action by independent organisations is being thwarted by the constant repression exerted by management bodies and the public authorities. The education sector has been among the worst affected.

In April, trade union activist Rezki Boubekeur, a member of the Comité National des Contractuels du Pre-Emploi et du Filet Social (affiliated to SNAPAP), was dismissed from the University of Skikda for having taken part in a protest.

On 15 June, security guards at the University Centre of Tamanrasset (CUT) used force to disperse a sit-in being held by teaching staff at the university. Eight of them were injured.

On 7 October, Ahmed Mansri, coordinator of the SNAPAP at the University of Tiaret, was arrested after the union threatened to occupy the street to make its demands heard.

On 4 December, a meeting of the National Council of Higher Education Teachers (CNES) to be held at the University of Algiers was almost cancelled when police prevented members from entering their premises. They council members had to block the traffic to reassert their right to hold the meeting.

As regards the postal sector and the authorities’ relentless attempts to obstruct the independent union independent union A trade union that is not affiliated to a national union. Can also be a union that is not dominated by an employer.

See yellow union

of postal workers, SNAP, the justice system ruled in favour of two union leaders unfairly dismissed in August 2014. The management of Algeria Poste was officially notified of the court decision ordering the reinstatement of the two trade unionists on 7 October. Despite the ruling, Tarek Ammar Khodja and Mourad Nekkache, head of communications and president of the SNAP, have not yet been reinstated.

Relentless repression of social protest in industrial sector31-12-2015

During a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
at the end of April at ArcelorMittal Pipes and Tubes Algeria (AMPTA), two trade union representatives were suspended and then dismissed for “incitement to violence and illegal strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
action”. The management’s refusal to reinstate Lofti Farah, general secretary of the UGTA-affiliated union, and Abdelghani Atil, president of the participation committee, led to a deadlock in the dispute that continued unresolved at the end of 2015.

During a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
initiated on May Day in Oran, two trade unionists (UGTA) were dismissed by the management of the tramway company SETRAM, linked to the French transport group RATP. The strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
subsequently spread to Algiers and Constantine and led to the dismissal of a third trade unionist in the capital. The Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH) and the International Transport Federation denounced these practices violating the labour law and trade union rights.

In June, six workers on strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
at the national gold mining company, ENOR, in Tamanrasset, were dismissed.

During the first half of 2015, workers’ representatives at Peugeot-Algeria reported the many tactics used by the management to obstruct the exercise of trade union rights. The local UGTA branch, after receiving no response to two requests to hold a general meeting of workers, finally held the meeting outside the company’s premises on 14 March, the day prior to the election of a “participation committee” supported by the management. Acting in breach of the national legislation on labour rights as well as the provisions of the PSA group’s global framework agreement on social responsibility, it also dismissed one of the workers’ representatives.

In October, the management at transport company ETUSA suspended nine workers, including four trade unionists (UGTA), during a protest.

On 1 December, during a protest at the industrial vehicles company SNVI in the Rouiba industrial zone, anti-riot police repressed demonstrators, injuring several of them and detaining 12 workers, including one trade union representative, for several hours.

Following the establishment of a union (UGTA) in mid November at SNC BAPIVA, the company in charge of the Tizi-Ouzou cable car project, the management sacked three trade union representatives.

Four postal workers sacked for going on strike:19-06-2015

Four members of the Algeria Post Workers’ Collective (CTAP) in Mostaganem in the west of the country were sacked after taking part in a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
on 10 January 2015. Their union had called the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
after waiting months for their employer to negotiate a list of demands. They were supported by the Autonomous Postal Workers Union (SNAP) which regretted that Algeria Post had opted for repression rather than dialogue, and noted that one of the workers’ collective’s principal demands was the official recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. of their organisation as a trade union. The collective had submitted its application for recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. in July 2012.

Autonomous unions still struggling for recognition:19-06-2015

On 16 August the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH) issued a press release warning that independent trade unions in Algeria were still facing repression. To be legally recognised as a trade union, a workers’ organisation must hold a general assembly and submit its application to the Labour Ministry, which should respond within one month. However according to the League, 13 autonomous unions had applied to the Ministry over the last two years for recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. , and had not received acknowledgement from it. This leaves them in a vulnerable position where they are either ignored or even repressed by the employers. According to the LADDH, unions facing repression included the SNAPAP (National Autonomous Union of Public Administration Personnel), the SNAP (National Autonomous Union of Postal Workers) and the SNATEG (National Autonomous Union of Sonelgaz Gas and Electricity Workers). The SNAP had been waiting for over two years for official recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. . Despite submitting its application on 2 July 2012, the organisation had not received an answer, neither recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. nor refusal, from the Ministry of Labour. Furthermore, its president, Mourad Nekkach, had been suspended from his post. Without official recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. the SNAP was very limited in what it was able to do to defend its members. SNATEG was also facing difficulties, despite the fact that its union had received official recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. in December 2013, and had followed all legal procedures. The General Secretary of SNATEG, Bendief Boualem, said that Sonelgaz refused to negotiate with it, the union’s president Abdella Boukhalfa, had been dismissed and all their founding members – 37 in total – were facing disciplinary procedures. They had been threatened with anything from pay deductions to dismissal, and more union members were also under threat, having already received
verbal harassment.

Trade union discrimination02-08-2014

Seventeen workers who were suspended from their jobs in November 2013 at a cement plant in Oggaz, Algeria, have started a hunger strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
to campaign for their rights in March 2014. In late 2013, the French Lafarge cement group took over the cement factory in Oggaz, in Western Algeria, and the company immediately set about restructuring and downsizing downsizing Reduction of a company’s workforce generally in an attempt to cut costs and improve efficiency. the operation. Workers attempted to resolve the matter through collective negotiation but were not successful. Then, despite record productivity, when the company unilaterally decided to reduce the bonus payments, the workers designated six workers to represent their grievances to management and staged a protest action. These six workers were immediately suspended. A collective work stoppage ensued, and company management retaliated by suspending an additional 11 workers. The provisions of the cement workers collective agreement covering the application of the disciplinary process for suspended workers have been ignored. Despite repeated assurances, public authorities have so far refused to engage and resolve the matter.
Management of the Algerian Post in Algiers suspended two members of the Syndicat national autonome des postiers (SNAP) from their positions on 2 August 2014 without giving them the opportunity to appear before the disciplinary commission. The reasons for the suspensions are related to their trade union activities. The employer argues that the two union members were guilty of “provocation, defamation, intimidation and interference in the right to work”. SNAP believes that this suspension is aimed at silencing union members at the company who have been campaigning against corruption and nepotism and for the implementation of the collective agreement that had been agreed upon.

Police violence29-09-2013

Authorities have blocked demonstrations, arbitrarily arrested trade unionists, and prosecuted some of them on criminal charges that appear to have little basis in fact or are based on the peaceful exercise of their union activities. On 29 September 2013, police violently dispersed a peaceful protest organised by the Contractual Workers Union in front of the government compound in Algiers and arrested 20 people.

Union registration24-09-2014

The government has refused to register trade unions without previous authorization. While national legislation provides that unions applying for registration must be provided with a receipt acknowledging the creation of a union and that such receipt is to be issued within 30 days, several trade unions both in the private and public sector have not received a receipt.
In June 2013, SNAPAP and other unions declared the creation of the Confédération Autonome des Travailleurs Algériens/CATA (Autonomous Confederation of Algerian Workers), which has still not been registered. The union deposited legal documents required for registration as a legal trade union organisation on 9 June 2013 and according to Algerian law should have received legal recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. within 30 days. However, the union is still waiting for official recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. . The Union of Higher Education Teachers in Solidarity (Syndicat des Enseignants du Supérieur Solidaires), for example, filed its application for registration on 19 January 2012. But it received no receipt at the time. The National Autonomous Union of Postal Workers (Syndicat National Autonome des Postiers – SNAP) notified the authorities three times – on 2 July 2012, on 13 September 2012, and on 3 March 2013 – but the authorities never issued a receipt. The union still lacks legal status.
In certain cases, authorities argue that the union bylaws or not in conformity with the law. For example, the Higher Education Teachers’ Union (SESS) received a reply on its request for registration in January 2012. Public authorities argued that the union bylaws were inconsistent with the provisions of Act No. 90-14 of 2 June 1990. Therefore the union changed its bylaws in line with the response from the Labour Ministry. Nevertheless, it has still not been registered. The National Autonomous Union of Workers of the SONELGAZ (Société Nationale de l’Electricité et du Gaz/National Society for Electricity and Gas) requested registration on 14 June 2012. Public authorities again argued that the union bylaws were inconsistent with the law but did not indicate the relevant sections.

Rachid Malaoui dismissed31-05-2013

In May 2013, Rachid Malaoui, President of SNAPAP, was removed from his post at the University of Continuous Education before he was about to take part in the International Labour Conference in June 2013. Several negotiations have taken place with the Minsitry of Labour and other state institution. However, no concrete steps have been undertaken to reinstate Rachid Malaoui.

Unfair dismissals following workers’ strike at CMA-CGM Algeria shipping company 19-08-2013

Workers at the CMA-CGM Algeria shipping company, which belongs to one of the world’s largest container shipping groups, staged a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
in support of their demand for better pay and conditions. The strikers were asking for a pay review and the application of the allowance system.
The company’s management proceeded to unfairly dismiss union members the same day as they were scheduled to form their own union, affiliated to the UGTA (Union Générale des Travailleurs Algériens).

Société Générale violates trade union rights19-08-2013

The management of the banking and financial services company ignored the demand of trade union members at Société Générale Algeria that a space be designated for the posting of information and notices as part of the preparations for a union election. It also ordered that posters and notices regarding the elections be taken down. Amel Bounoua, a member of the trade union, was threatened with dismissal.
These actions were the result of the company’s refusal to recognise the union, which it considers not to be representative.

Arrest and sanctions against trade unionists09-08-2013

In February 2012, 40 unionised contract teachers affiliated to the SNAPAP were arrested including the President and General Secretary of the National Council of Contract Teachers. The trade unionists had protested in front of the presidential building against a series of tough measures for teachers being taken by the National Education Minister.

In October 2012, Yacine Zaïd, Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide representative in Algeria, was sentenced by the court in Ouargla on Monday, 8 October, to a six-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 10,000 dinars (about 100 euros). Accused of “insulting a police officer”, he had been taken into custody for one week.

Abdelkader Kherba, member of the National Committee for the Defence of the Rights of the Unemployed (Comité national pour la défense des droits des chômeurs - CNDDC) and the LADDH (Algerian league for the defence of human rights), was arrested while he was taking part in a peaceful demonstration organised by the National Justice Federation, an affiliate of the Syndicat National Autonome des Personnels de l’Administration Publique (SNAPAP).

Anti-union discrimination09-08-2013

In March 2013, nine trade union members were dismissed from their positions according to SNAPAP when they started to call a series of strikes from January onwards. The latest strikes were scheduled for 25, 26 and 27 February but were declared illegal by the Court of Algiers.

Travel bans against trade unionists30-07-2013

The Algerian authorities prevented a delegation of 96 trade unionists and civil society activists from crossing the border into Tunisia to attend the World Social Forum in March 2013. The only reason given by border police in Annaba was that the trade unionists were on a list of people banned from leaving Algeria because of “unrest”.

Interference in trade union activities and harassment by police30-07-2013

North African trade unionists visiting Algeria to take part in the first North African Forum to Fight Unemployment and Precarious Work were harassed by police. Police raided the hotel where the trade unionists were staying and proceeded to arrest five Moroccans, three Tunisians and three Mauritanians, including two women. They were then driven directly to the airport and deported from the country. The trade unionists detained were due to take part in a meeting at the Maison des syndicats. Police surrounded the trade union premises early in the morning and prohibited any attempt to access or vacate the building.

Grass roots members call on UGTA to act, independent unions ostracised 30-11-2011

Unions affiliated to the national trade union centre trade union centre A central organisation at the national, regional or district level consisting of affiliated trade unions. Often denotes a national federation or confederation. the UGTA (Union générale des travailleurs algériens) demonstrated their anger at the contempt shown by the management of state-owned enterprises in response to the workers’ legitimate demands for pay rises, the respect of trade union rights, and an end to the sanctions and legal proceedings against workers’ representatives. Marches and sit-ins were organised, including one at the end of December in the Rouiba industrial zone outside the head offices of the UGTA urging the national centre to convey their message to the employers.

The independent trade unions were fiercely critical of the government which, as in previous years, had not included them in the tri-partite negotiations in May and September. The independent unions in the education and health sectors, although highly representative, had enormous difficulty making their demands heard by the authorities. Several strikes were ruled illegal. Many trade unions have still not been recognised, or their names have been usurped by government-backed dissidents, in a bid to undermine their representativeness.

Social unrest spread to sectors usually untouched by it, such as the justice system with strikes by the clerks of court, lawyers and the communal guards, an auxiliary security force created during the war against the Islamists. As usual the authorities declared the strikes illegal and threatened sanctions against those who took part in the protest actions.

Independent unions repressed 31-12-2010

Independent unions in the education and health sectors, although highly representative, had enormous difficulty making their demands heard by the authorities. The scant progress or promises made in terms of pay, for example, were only secured after many months of protest staged in spite of the intimidation suffered at the hands of the authorities. Several strikes were declared illegal. Threats were brandished that the strikers would face mass dismissals and the unions would be de-registered. Many trade unions have still not been recognised, or their names have been usurped by government-backed dissidents, in a bid to undermine their representativeness.

Although still in gestation, a trade union centre trade union centre A central organisation at the national, regional or district level consisting of affiliated trade unions. Often denotes a national federation or confederation. , the CSA (Confédération des syndicats algériens) was formed in April by the four most representative unions in the health and education sectors, the CNAPEST (Conseil national autonome des professeurs de l’enseignement secondaire et technique), the UNPEF (Union nationale des travailleurs de l’éducation et de la formation) the SNPSP (Syndicat national des praticiens de santé publique) and the SNPSSP (Syndicat national des praticiens spécialistes de la santé publique). The confederation criticised the exclusion of independent unions from the process of revising the labour law.

Multinationals hostile to trade unions and social dialogue01-12-2009

In oil-rich southern Algeria, workers and their representatives complained throughout the year that the 20 or so multinational companies operating there continually flout labour legislation. However, the authorities ignored all protests by workers and trade unions. Activists who dared challenge decisions they believed to be unjust, or unsatisfactory working conditions, were frequently harassed, threatened or dismissed by their employers. It was extremely difficult for them to get their voice heard. The health of Myriem Mehdien, on hunger strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
since 10 November after being unfairly dismissed by British Gas, was causing serious concern by the end of 2009. With the support of her colleagues, she refused to comply with a radical change in her working hours. For several months, she was subjected to threats and pressure. The three-year ordeal faced by Yacine Zaïd also illustrates some employers’ contempt for trade union rights and social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. (see “Yacine Zaïd in the face of injustice at Compass” in the Violations section).

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