The ITUC affiliate in Yemen is the General Federation of Worker’s Trade Unions of Yemen (GFWTUY).
Freedom of association / Right to organise
The law does not specifically protect workers from anti-union discrimination.
Restrictions on workers' right to form and join organisations of their own choosing:
- Single trade union system imposed by law and/or a system banning or limiting organising at a certain level (enterprise, industry and/or sector, regional and/or territorial, national)
- All unions must belong to the General Federation of Worker's Trade Unions of Yemen, the country's only umbrella union organisation.
Categories of workers prohibited or limited from forming or joining a union, or from holding a union office:
- Other civil servants and public employees
- Non-national or migrant workers
- The draft Labour Code would allow foreign workers to join trade unions, but they would still not have the right to be elected to trade union office.
- Domestic workers
- Others categories
- Minors aged between 16 and 18 can only join a trade union if their legal guardian agrees.
Right to collective bargaining
Restrictions on the scope of application and legal effectiveness of concluded collective agreements:
- Authorities' approval of freely concluded collective agreements
- The Ministry of Labour has the power of veto over any collective bargaining agreement. Agreements that are "likely to cause a breach of security or to damage the economic interests of the country" can be annulled.
Right to strike
Barriers to lawful strike actions:
- Previous authorisation or approval by authorities required to hold a lawful strike
- Permission to strike must be obtained from the General Federation of Worker's Trade Unions of Yemen.
- Excessive representativity or minimum number of members required to hold a lawful strike
- A strike call must concern more than two thirds of the workforce of the employer.
- Obligation to observe an excessive quorum or to obtain an excessive majority in a ballot to call a strike
- The proposal to strike must be put to at least 60% of all workers concerned, of whom 25% must vote in favour.
- Excessively long prior notice / cooling-off period
- Three weeks’ notice must be given.
Ban or limitations on certain types of strike actions:
- Restrictions with respect to the objective of a strike (e.g. industrial disputes, economic and social issues, political, sympathy and solidarity reasons)
- Strikes may not be carried out for "political purposes".
Undue interference by authorities or employers during the course of a strike:
- Authorities' or employers' power to prevent or end a strike by referring the dispute to arbitration
- Disputes may be referred to compulsory arbitration at the request of only one of the parties, in which case a strike can be suspended for 85 days.
Limitations or ban on strikes in certain sectors:
- Discretionary determination or excessively long list of "essential services" in which the right to strike is prohibited or severely restricted
- Strikes are banned in some sectors, such as ports, airlines and hospitals.
Many private sector employers do not allow their workers to organise. In both the public and private sector, many trade unions are not allowed to negotiate collective agreements. Strikes do occur however. For example, following negotiations with the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, an affiliate of the International Journalists Federation (IFJ), in early 2009, the government agreed to a pay rise and improved contracts for 2010. The agreement came after a partial 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 of journalists working in four media groups who had observed a work stoppage of one hour per day for one week.