The ITUC affiliates in Rwanda are the Centrale des Syndicats des Travailleurs du Rwanda (CESTRAR) and the Congrès du Travail et de la Fraternité au Rwanda (COTRAF).
Freedom of association / Right to organise
The law prohibits anti-union discrimination.
Barriers to the establishment of organisations
- Power to refuse official registration on arbitrary, unjustified or ambiguous grounds
- To obtain registration (a pre-requisite for bargaining status), a union must be able to prove that its representatives have not at any time been sentenced to prison terms of six months or more (Art. 3(5) Ministerial Order No 11 of 07/09/2010).
- Other formalities or requirements which excessively delay or substantially impair the free establishment of organisations
- There is a 90-day timeframe for the authorities to complete an application for registration of a trade union (Art. 5 Ministerial Order No 11 of 07/09/2010).
Restrictions on trade unions’ right to organise their administration
- Other external interference allowed by law
- Unions seeking most representative status must allow the labour administration to check its register of members and property (Art. 124, Law Regulating Labour in Rwanda, 2009).
Categories of workers prohibited or limited from forming or joining a union, or from holding a union office
- Armed forces
Right to collective bargaining
Barriers to the recognition of collective bargaining agents
- Previous authorisation or approval by authorities required to bargain collectively
- A union must be registered to obtain statutory bargaining status and must publish its articles of association in the Official Gazette to obtain legal capacity (Art. 1, Law Regulating Labour in Rwanda, 2009; Art. 7 Ministerial Order No 11 of 07/09/2010).
Restrictions on the principle of free and voluntary bargaining
- Authorities’ or employers’ power to unilaterally annul, modify or extend content and scope of collective agreements
- The law envisages that extension is possible only for agreements that cover two-thirds of workers or employers in a professional category, and that extension is initiated by a majority of concerned unions or employers' associations (Article 134, Law Regulating Labour in Rwanda, 2009). However, the Minister of Labour also has a power to initiate this process unilaterally, and has an apparently unfettered discretion to choose which provisions of an agreement will be extended.
Limitations or ban on collective bargaining in certain sectors
- Armed forces
Right to strike
Barriers to lawful strike actions
- Compulsory recourse to arbitration
A means of resolving disputes outside the courts through the involvement of a neutral third party, which can either be a single arbitrator or an arbitration board. In non-binding arbitration, the disputing parties are free to reject the third party’s recommendation, whilst in binding arbitration they are bound by its decision. Compulsory arbitration denotes the process where arbitration is not voluntarily entered into by the parties, but is prescribed by law or decided by the authorities.
See conciliation, mediation , or to long and complex conciliation conciliation An attempt by a neutral third party, a conciliator, to aid the settling of an industrial dispute by improving communications, offering advice and interpreting issues to bring the disputing parties to a point where they can reconcile their differences. The conciliator does not take as active a role as a mediator or an arbitrator.
See arbitration, mediation and mediation mediation A process halfway between conciliation and arbitration, in mediation a neutral third party assists the disputing parties in reaching a settlement to an industrial dispute by suggesting possible, non-binding solutions.
See arbitration, conciliation procedures prior to 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 actions
- There is a mandatory conciliation and arbitration process for collective disputes, which can take more than two months (Articles 143-148, Law Regulating Labour in Rwanda, 2013). The right to strike following these procedures is restricted to just two situations: (1) where the arbitration committee fails to reach a decision within 15 days, or (2) where agreements reached under conciliation procedures are not implemented (Art. 151, Law Regulating Labour in Rwanda, 2013).
Limitations or ban on strikes in certain sectors
- Undue restrictions for “public servants”
- The only clear trade union right for public servants is the right to join trade unions under the General Statutes for Public Services (Art. 51, Law Establishing the General Statutes for Public Service, 2013).
- Discretionary determination or excessively long list of “essential services
Services the interruption of which would endanger the life, personal safety or health of the whole or part of the population. Can include the hospital sector, electricity and water supply services, and air traffic control. Strikes can be restricted or even prohibited in essential services.
See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
” in which the right to 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 is prohibited or severely restricted
- The Minister of Labour has unfettered discretion to determine both which services are “indispensable” and how the right to strike may be exercised in these services (Art. 155, Law Regulating Labour in Rwanda, 2013).
- Absence of compensatory guarantees for categories of workers deprived of the right to 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
- Discretionary determination or excessively long list of “services of public utility” in which a minimum operational service is can be imposed in the event of strikes
- Unreasonable or discretionary (i.e. without negotiation with social partners
Unions and employers or their representative organisations.
or absence of an independent authority in the event of disagreement) determination of the extent of the “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 ” to be guaranteed during strikes in public services
Six teachers working for Mweya Private School in Rubavu were illegally dismissed in February 2013 without prior notice contrary to a valid collective agreement. The school claimed to be in financial difficulties but failed to produce an audit report. As a result, the workers filed a complaint with the court which ruled in their favour in June 2014 and ordered the school to pay compensation.