3 – Regular violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

Rwanda

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).

In practice

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SYPELGAZ workers still awaiting reinstatement after five years04-12-2019

PSI affiliate SYPELGAZ (Trade Union for Energy, Water and Sanitation in Rwanda) has been in court since May 2016 to demand proper compensation of its five illegally dismissed Union Executive Committee members and also to demand various other labour-related rights that have long been denied.

The issue dates to 2014, when the government of Rwanda decided to reform the Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA) and made it a government-owned company under commercial law. At the time, almost all workers of EWSA were public servants, pursuant to Law No. 87/2013, establishing the General Statutes for Public Service.

The privatisation process led to the split of EWSA into two new companies, Rwanda Energy Group (REG) and the Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC), and former public employees were encouraged to compete again for their jobs, since all positions in the two new companies were re-opened. These competitions resulted in the dismissal of 700 workers, mostly trade union members, including five trade union leaders of SYPELGAZ.

SYPELGAZ has been in court since 2016 to demand proper compensation of illegally dismissed workers, including the members of the Union Executive Committee.

So far, around ten cases have been finalised and claimants paid, while over 100 cases are still pending in court, including the case of SYPELGAZ Committee members. Workers’ request the following: (1) compensation for Illegal dismissal; (2) regularisation of salary based on the new salary structure of March 2013; (3) regularisation of bonus; (4) payment of horizontal promotion; and (5) regularisation of final dues. But in all cases so far, the court has dismissed claims regarding compensation for illegal dismissal, the regularisation of bonus and horizontal promotion.

The court listened to an appeal from two lawyers of REG Ltd concerning a decision taken by the Intermediary Court of Nyarugenge, Kigali, on November 27, 2017, re-activating some outstanding rights that were denied to workers of former EWSA.

So far, the full package to be paid to all workers is estimated at nine billion Rwandan francs. SYPELGAZ has requested the intervention of the Ministry of Finance for payment, but REG and WASAC continue to oppose the court decision.

Illegally dismissed SYPELGAZ trade union members to return to court on June 404-06-2018

PSI affiliate SYPELGAZ (Trade Union for Energy, Water and Sanitation in Rwanda) has been in court since May 2016 to demand proper compensation for its five illegally dismissed Union Executive Committee members.
The issue dates to 2014, when the government of Rwanda decided to reform the Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA) and made it a government-owned company under commercial law. At the time, almost all workers of EWSA were public servants, pursuant to Law No. 87/2013, establishing the General Statutes for Public Service. The privatisation process led to EWSA split into two new companies, Rwanda Energy Group (REG) and the Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC), and former public employees were encouraged to compete again for their jobs, since all positions in the two new companies were re-opened. These competitions resulted in the dismissal of 700 workers, mostly trade union members, including five trade union leaders of SYPELGAZ.
SYPELGAZ has been in court since May 2016 to demand proper compensation of its five illegally dismissed Union Executive Committee members and various other longtime denied labour-related rights. After hearing explanations from both sides on 27 November 2017, the Court deferred further pronouncements on the case to 4 June 2018.

Managers in the public sector often guilty of violation of labour laws 24-01-2017

In January, the Public Service Commission reviewed the national fiscal report for the years 2015-2016. According to the data, the Government lost 75% of the lawsuits filed against managers in the public sector by its former employees. According to the Commission’s chairperson, such high prevalence of adjudicated violations demonstrates the level of injustice in the public service and points to the lack of serious sanctions for managers who break the law while managing their staff.

Teachers illegally dismissed30-06-2014

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.

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