5+ – No guarantee of rights due to breakdown of the rule of law
The ITUC Global Rights Index

Burundi

The ITUC affiliates in Burundi are the Confédération des Syndicats du Burundi (COSYBU) and the Confédération Syndicale du Burundi (CSB).

In practice

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President of COSYBU arrested31-12-2016

On 28 December 2016, Tharcisse Gahungu, president of the Confédération Syndicale du Burundi (COSYBU), affiliated to the ITUC, was arrested together with three other trade unionists by national intelligence officers, in Ijenda, around thirty kilometres from Bujumbura. Tharcisse Gahungu was due to take part in a meeting, the following day, to set up a trade union in the tea growing sector. The director of the Burundi Tea Office (OTB) had alerted the authorities in a letter, requesting them to “take every step necessary to stop the meeting from going ahead”, adding that “a trade union would create disarray and chaos in the tea industry”. Media outlets close to the authorities were quick to claim that the trade union leader was being manipulated by Westerners wanting to damage the OTB. The four trade unionists were released on 31 December after three nights in jail.

Education trade union decimated and ultimately suspended31-12-2015

According to the African Regional Office of Education International (EI), which organised a mission to Burundi in October following the serious crisis plaguing the country, at least 250 teachers went into exile in 2015. The organisation affiliated to EI, the Syndicat des Travailleurs de l’Enseignement du Burundi (STEB), was decimated. According to the delegation’s conclusions, “The members of the STEB live in a climate of fear and do not dare to express themselves openly”. The delegation also alerted to the fate of Oscar Ndabazaniye, a STEB member, imprisoned since 6 July and who had taken part, a few weeks prior, in a workshop of young teachers held by EI and the Foundation Friedrich Ebert (FES) in Dakar. In December, the STEB was suspended by order of the Interior Ministry along with around a dozen other organisations active in the field of development, communications and the defence of the human rights.

Trade union leader arrested28-05-2015

On May 15, David Dusabe, vice president of the Fédération Nationale des Travailleurs du Transport du Social et de l’Informel (FNTT-SI) and legal adviser to the COSYBU, was arrested in Kirundo for allegedly having called for demonstrations against the third term in office of the current president. He was released on 28 May. Many trade unions and organisations from other countries campaigned for his release.

Judges’ union targeted28-02-2015

In February, the Syndicat des Magistrats du Burundi (SYMABU) denounced a wave of transfers targeting its members and particularly the judges on its executive board. No less than eight of its leaders were targeted with postings often very far away from their homes. Wage claims made by the SYMABU were the trigger in this instance but, more generally, the SYMABU has been the object of constant attacks from the government for several years, such as appointments being orchestrated by the authorities, showing contempt for the separation of executive and judicial powers; attempts to infiltrate the trade union; administrative penalties against Jean-Pierre Munyembari, a judge and also general secretary of the SYMABU, and the difficulties encountered by the trade union in securing 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. .

General strike repressed03-06-2015

Having received no response from the authorities to demands related to the cost of fuel and telephone calls, and after filing 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
notice, the two ITUC affiliates, the Confédération des Syndicats du Burundi (COSYBU) and the Confédération Syndicale du Burundi (CSB), working together within the Collective against the High Cost of Living, staged a general 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 5 March. The day before, the two confederations received a mail from the minister in charge, seeking to intimidate them by stating that 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
would constitute gross misconduct punishable by dismissal.

During the days following the action, many strikers faced reprisals. The president of a market in the capital, escorted by young members of the ruling party, stopped transport workers and traders who had responded to 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
call from accessing the market and the surrounding area, preventing them from working. Stands and shops that were closed during 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
had been marked with a cross, and vehicle registration plates had also been noted down. Strikers in the education and health sectors faced threats and intimidation. The director of the provincial Rumonge hospital filed a complaint against Claudine Nkurikiye, a nurse and local head of the Syndicat National du Personnel Paramédical et Aide-Soignant (SYNAPA), accusing her of destabilising health care provision, despite her having taken care to ensure that a minimum service minimum service The operations needed in a public or private establishment during a strike, normally to avoid compromising the life or basic needs of the population or causing irreversible damages.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
was maintained. The COSYBU filed a compliant with the ILO International Labour Organization A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.

See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights
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
regarding the intensification of the acts of repression and intimidation.

Arbitrary imprisonment of journalist18-06-2015

Authorities ordered the closure of the leading station Radio Publique Africaine (RPA) in Bujumbura, accusing the station of “incitement” for covering the protests in the capital ahead of the controversial general elections. Moreover, Bob Rugurika, a journalist employed with RDA and a member of the Union Burundaise des Journalistes, was arrested for broadcasting a murder confession implicating the security services. Three Roman Catholic nuns, aged between 75 and 83, were murdered at a convent north of Bujumbura in September 2014.

Retaliatory measures against strikers30-06-2013
Anti-union discrimination19-08-2013
Journalists and informal workers are prevented from establishing unions19-08-2013

Journalists have been trying to register their union for more than one year but were refused by the Ministry. Five informal sector unions are waiting for their registration.

Suspension of trade union activities08-02-2013

On 8 February 2013, the government suspended the registration of the Syndicat général des commerçants “SGYECO” but repealed this decision on 26 February 2013 after negotiations with the National Independent Human Rights Commission.

Right to strike flouted30-11-2009

The authorities only responded to a few of the public sector unions’ demands, and often after long and exhausting strikes. In September, pay was illegally withheld from strikers in the education sector. Over the last few years, the government has declared several strikes illegal, citing in particular the harm they could do to the national economy. The trade unions are also regularly accused of being in the pay of the opposition parties.

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