4 – Systematic violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index


The ITUC affiliate in Ethiopia is the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU).

In practice

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Hotel sacks 65 workers for their union membership31-07-2014

On 28 July 2014 the Sheraton Addis ordered 65 of its workers to leave the hotel immediately, and issued termination notices. Many of the workers had worked for the hotel for many years, as long as 16 years in some cases. The termination notices cited “unhealthy relations with management”, but the global union IUF, representing food, farm and hotel workers, believed the real reason was their union membership.

The union representing Sheraton Addis for many years had begun negotiating a renewal of their collective agreement. Both workers and management had agreed to let the specialised government Arbitration 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
Board assist. Negotiations were going well, when the company unilaterally withdrew from the process. Two days later, the hotel issued termination letters to 65 employees, all of them union members, including the negotiators agreed to by management and the union’s officers. On July 31, management withdrew from the negotiations altogether after declaring that it was unwilling to negotiate with employees whose contracts had been terminated.

Teachers denied the right to organise 31-12-2011

Teachers in public schools continue to be deprived of the right to form and join trade unions. The independent National Teachers’ Association (NTA), an Education International (EI) affiliate, was formed in 2008 after the Federal Supreme Court ruled that the name, logo, all property and bank assets of the then Ethiopian Teacher’s Association (ETA) be given to the government-recognised entity, thereby dismantling the once largely independent teacher association. The NTA was denied legal registration by the Ministry of Justice on the ground that a national teacher association already exists. The second attempt to register in February 2010 has consistently been discouraged verbally by officials of the newly created Charities and Societies Agency. However, no official notification from the Agency has been received by NTA to date. Given that it is not yet registered, NTA members do not have a guaranteed right to conduct collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement

Over the years, members of the independent teachers’ association have faced harassment, dismissal, arrest, torture and even death. The Government of Ethiopia has not yet initiated steps to conduct a full and independent inquiry into allegations of trade unionists’ arrests, their torture and mistreatment when in detention.
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
has urged the government to register NTA without delay.

Government interference31-12-2011

The government blatantly interferes in trade union affairs in all sectors, notably the banking and education sectors. Many trade union leaders are regularly intimidated and most are removed from their posts and/or forced to leave the country. The government closely monitors the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU).

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