Trade union freedoms: Algeria on ILO’s blacklist

June 20th 2019

At the 108th session of the International Labor Conference in Geneva, Algeria was heavily criticized by the International Labor Organization (ILO / UN) for non-respect of trade union rights and obstacles to trade union activity. The ILO Committee on the Application of Standards (comprising representatives of governments, employers and workers) has placed Algeria on the black list of countries violating Convention No. 87 on freedom of association, particularly due to the delay of adopting the new labor code, at the project stage,  for 8 years. The government is also accused of being excessively slow and arbitrary in its decisions to register trade unions. In terms of freedom of association, Algeria is accused of not providing effective protection against dismissal and discrimination of trade unions, but also the difficulty of obtaining reinstatement in the event of a favorable judicial decision. The Algerian state is invited to stop resorting to cloning practices and the creation of fictitious unions. This is the fourth time that Algeria is in the dock of the accused of this commission of control.

In its report, the ILO mission sent in May in Algeria issued a series of recommendations for a legislative revision in favor of full exercise of freedom of association in Algeria (Law No. 90-14), in accordance with the requirements of ILO Convention No. 87. The same mission also required "further work to bring the draft labor code into line with the technical comments provided in 2015 and in consultation with all the social partners". The ILO mission also stressed the need to register all the unions, including the Algerian General Confederation of Algerian Workers (CGATA) and the Algerian Confederation of Trade Unions (CSA).

Trade unionists belonging to the CGATA and the National Autonomous Union of Public Administration (SNAPAP) protested in Geneva against the presence of the Algerian Minister of Labor, Employment and Social Security, T. Hassan Hedam, and against those representatives of the UGTA official trade union center. The boss of the UGTA, A.Sidi Saïd, very close to the former president A.Bouteflika, had been prevented from going to Geneva because of a ban on leaving the country (ISTN).

Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the ILO, this International Labor Conference brought together over 40 Heads of State and Government in Geneva as well as more than 5,000 delegates from 187 countries.