4 – Systematic violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

Cameroon

The ITUC affiliates in Cameroon are the Confédération des Syndicats Autonomes du Cameroun (CSAC), the Confédération Syndicale des Travailleurs du Cameroun (CSTC) and the Unions des Syndicats Libres du Cameroun (USLC).

In practice

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DISAWOFA trade union offices attacked15-08-2015

In August 2015 the Secretariat of the Divisional Syndicate of Agricultural Workers in Fako (DISAWOFA) was attacked: its doors were destroyed and documents were stolen. The act of vandalism and intimidation was reported to the Tiko legal department and police, but no investigation has been carried out.

Cameroon Development Corporation denies registration of trade union 01-11-2015

Fako Independent Allied Agricultural Workers Union (FINAAAWU) requested its registration as an enterprise trade union at Cameroon Development Corporation in November 2015. It took more than four months for the registration certificate to be issued. In the meantime, FINAAWU representatives were not able to participate in the election for the work council, which was held on 1 March 2016. Mr Nganso Appolinaire from the trade union DISAWOFA was elected as a result of the election. However, the company refused to recognise the results of the election.

Chinese employer’s contempt for workers’ demands at major construction site31-07-2015

On 11 and 12 July, police brutally supressed 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
launched by employees at the Menve’le dam building site. According to the strikers, police fired teargas and live ammunition at the crowd. Ten strikers were reportedly hospitalised, including two women, and several arrests were made. On 17 July, the press covered renewed violence. The striking workers, backed by the Confédération Camerounaise du Travail (CCT), denounced the abuses suffered at the hands of the employer, the Chinese company Sinohydro, including sexual harassment, corruption, unfair dismissals, poor working conditions, etc. According to the employer, only a minority of the 1,448 workers were at the root of the dispute. This show of force nonetheless prompted the Labour and Social Security Minister to intervene personally to secure a pledge from the employer to establish 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. and better working conditions.

Delays in transferring dues to union09-06-2015

The Free Trade Union Confederation of Cameroon, USLC, says employers often delay transferring unions dues, deducted through the check-off check-off A system where union dues and fees are automatically deducted by the employer from the workers’ paychecks and then remitted to the respective union. system, to the unions, thereby starving them of funds. It also says there has been interference and manipulation in union elections by employers, affecting most recently health workers in Mfoundi, and construction workers employed by Chinese companies.

Anti-union harassment at bank09-06-2015

The Free Trade Union Confederation of Cameroon (Union des Syndicats Libres du Cameroon – USLC) reported that members of the financial workers’ union FESYLTEFCAM at the multinational ATTIJARIWAFA bank regularly suffer verbal harassment by management, and that there had been several cases in which the union representative had been moved to a different post, without informing the labour inspector. The harassment has been so persistent that the union is thinking of withdrawing from the next union representation elections due to be held in January 2016.

The USLC also reports that there is blatant discrimination in the banking sector in general, with employers usually preferring to deal with only one union and ignoring the rest.

Three transport union leaders arrested for calling strike; one sentenced to prison30-01-2015

Jean Collins Ndefossokeng, president of the National Union of Land Transport Sector Employees (SYNESTER), and Joseph Deudie, president of the National Union of Professional Drivers and Transport Workers of Cameroon (SYNACPROTCAM), were arrested on 16 January 2015. They were detained by the Mobile Intervention Group of Yaoundé, the security forces, for “advocating crime, sedition and terrorist activity” after distributing leaflets promoting a planned 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
.

Cameroon’s new terrorist law, N° 2014/028 of 23 December 2014, was introduced largely in response to the activities of Boko Haram. The union leaders warned that the authorities were trying to assimilate union activities with terrorist action.

The two unions had planned 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 19 January, postponed from 5 January, to protest against changes imposed by state-approved insurance companies, and against fuel price rises. In organising organising The process of forming or joining a trade union, or inducing other workers to form or join one. 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
, the unions had followed all Cameroon’s legal procedures.

On 19 January, Fioko Patrice, from the National Union of Land Transport Sector Employees (SYNESTER) union, was arrested, tried and sentenced to six months in prison in Cameroon on the same charges after distributing leaflets promoting 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
.

Jean Collins Ndefossokeng and Joseph Deudié were released on 30 January, having been held for 15 days under the provisions of the new anti-terrorist law. Fioko Patrice was released on 27 February, having served six weeks of his six-month sentence, after widespread union protests, including an international trade union campaign. In early March it was announced that all charges against the three trade unionists had been dropped.

Plantation workers arrested for going on strike25-12-2014

Workers at the Hevecam plantation went 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
on 14 December during a dispute over pay. The workers were seeking a 100 per cent pay rise and a thirteenth month annual bonus. The company offered between 50 and 55 per cent, depending on their salary grade, and no annual bonus. By 20 December there was still no solution in sight, and gendarmes were patrolling the plantations to keep an eye on the strikers. One hundred twenty-seven workers were arrested by the gendarmes and held in custody in Kribi for two days. They were released on 25 December. Further to negotiations an agreement was reached, meeting most but not all of the workers’ demands.

Government seeks to undermine education unions31-07-2014

Roger Kaffo Fokou, general secretary of the Syndicat national autonome de l’enseignement secondaire (SNAES), 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

for secondary education workers, reported that in July 2014 the education unions were facing sanctions. He warned that grass roots unions were being dismantled, and that the government was favouring unions that had government authorisation, giving them financial support. Earlier in the year the unions had been involved in a series of strikes over the government’s slowness to deliver on promised improvements in working conditions.

Anti-union discrimination31-05-2012

Since May 2012, management of the company Orange, targets trade union leaders who have received notifications with unilateral changes to their employment contracts.

Violence against trade unionists and violation of collective agreements08-11-2012

On 8 November 2012, approximately 500 members of the Musicians’ Union of Cameroon (SYCAMU) were brutally attacked by police in Yaoundé. Artists, including 85 year old Anne-Marie Nzié, known as the “Queen of Cameroonian Music” were dragged to the floor and beaten. Sixty-three musicians were arrested and held for hours before being released. SYCAMU members were protesting that a new agreement for the payment of royalties to artists has not been properly enforced.

Collective agreements flouted, out of date or non-existent 30-11-2009

The recent signature of several collective agreements has rarely had any effect in practice. Trade unions considered too demanding or too independent have been excluded from negotiations, for example in the banking sector. The National Union of Journalists of Cameroon (SNJC) denounced the failure to implement the collective agreement adopted in 2008 after three years of bitter negotiations by the majority of press barons. At the Cameroon Water Company, one of the demands of workers taking 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 at the beginning of May was the revision of a 40-year-old collective agreement. 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. has generally been scorned by employers in both the private and publicle sector. On 1 May half a dozen education unions demanded the establishment of a permanent framework for 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. , denouncing the total absence of negotiation in primary and secondary education.

Interference and discrimination 01-05-2009

In recent years, the government has favoured those workers’ organisations it sees as easier to control and used excessively strict union registration requirements to withhold 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. from trade unions it deems too independent. One example is the public service confederation, CSP, one of the country’s seven trade union centres, which has not been recognised since it was formed in the year 2000. Its members often face harassment. The May Day demonstration that the CSP regularly organises on the fringes of the official commemoration was banned the day before at 9 pm. Jean-Marc Bikoko, the president of the CSP and the coordinator of the Platform for Information and Action on Cameroon’s Debt, was the target of acts of intimidation: he was warned in anonymous phone calls that the intelligence services were following everything he did and said very closely.

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