4 – Systematic violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

Ethiopia

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

In practice

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Ethiopian companies interfering in trade union affairs and refusing to negotiate09-01-2020

The Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions indicated in its report that in 2019 they had recorded numerous attempts by employers to interfere in trade union affairs, including by withholding union dues. Cases registered included the following employers: Amaga Foam Factory; Modern Plastic Factory, Agar Security Services; Adama General Medial College, Hidase Telecom; Niyala Flour Factory; and Ahadox Food Complex.

Other companies blatantly violate the right to 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
by refusing to negotiate with representative unions or by delaying negotiations. Such is the case in the following entreprises: Galdi PLC; Gebison Youth Academy; Nib Transport; Nok Transport, Kaojeje Food Complex; Tina Food Factory; Hilina Food Factory; Kebrom Plastic Factory; Mentu Plastic Factory; and Orkid Business Group.

Airline workers penalised for attempts to unionise05-12-2019

On 9 May 2019, following the merger of the Ethiopian Airways Enterprise and Ethiopian Airlines into the Ethiopian Airlines Group, workers established a single union, which was an amalgamation of the Transport and Communication Union Federations.

Since the merger, Airlines Group management has taken steps to penalise members of the union. It has been reported that management has stopped some benefits to captains who have decided to join the union. It has also written to the Ministry of Labour in an attempt to prevent the registration of the union.

Since the union was successfully registered, management of Airlines Group has consistently attempted to restrict the lawful activities of the union, including by prohibiting the union from recruiting members on the premises of the company, dismissing two pilots because of their union activities, terminating the employment of the chairperson of the union, who is a pilot, and intimidating workers to discourage them from joining the union.

In preventing the union from conducting its business and discriminating against workers for their union activities, the Airlines Group management is in clear breach of 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
Convention 87 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
.

Nine striking air traffic controllers arrested by Ethiopia 25-08-2018

Nine Ethiopian air traffic controllers were arrested for allegedly leading a week-long work boycott boycott A collective refusal to buy or use the goods or services of an employer to express disapproval with its practices. Primary boycotts are used to put direct pressure on an employer, while a secondary boycott involves the refusal to deal with a neutral employer with the view of dissuading it from patronising the target employer. . Air traffic controllers stopped work on 25 August 2018 demanding improved working conditions, overtime pay and a salary increase.
According to the police deputy commissioner Tekolla Ayfokiru “nine workers were preventing international flights from landing at the Bole International Airport”, which is Ethiopia’s busiest hub.
The Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA), which is the employer, categorised 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
as illegal. The employer also stated that a salary review was ongoing.
Col. Wesenyelew Hunegnaw, the head of the ECAA, is reported to have stated: “Some of the employees engaged in 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
are returning back to their work. The remaining should submit a letter of apology and return to their work. They have until Tuesday (September 4).”

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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