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Global Unions meet with Algerian Mission in Geneva to Protest Trade Union Oppression

05 February 2018
Today, the global union federations PSI, ITUC, IndustriALL and IUF delivered a joint letter to the Algerian Mission in Geneva to protest against the imminent trial of trade union leaders affiliated to the General Confederation of Autonomous Workers in Algeria (CGATA).

The unions, representing more than 200 million members, call on the Algerian government to abandon all legal proceedings against trade union leaders. 

PSI's Deputy General Secretary, David Boys, expressed his concerns about the violation of human rights in Algeria:

We met with one of the Permanent Secretaries to deliver the message that we need a solution to the problems the Trade Union (SNATEG) is having with the government. We told the Permanent Secretary that we prefer dialogue, but we need to see results. We cannot delay justice much longer. If they continue to drag things out too long, the three global unions have agreed that we need to increase the pressure on the government.

In the joint letter there are clear criticisms of the Government of Algeria and strong calls for the government to comply with International Labour Organizations (ILO) recommendations to ensure freedom of association.

The general secretary of The National Union for Workers in Electricity and Gas (SNATEG), Mr Abdelkader Kawafi, and the national coordinator of SESS, Mr Kaddour Chouicha, will be tried tomorrow 6 February 2018 under accusations of «defamation» and «incitement to unauthorized gathering», merely for their legitimate trade union activities.

Trade union leaders in Algeria continue to face intimidation and they are subjected to legal procedures, fines and prison sentences in retaliation for their defense of the freedom of association of their members.

Back in June 2017 the ILO Committee on the Applications of Standards urged the Government of Algeria to halt all practices of intimidation and police violence against trade union leaders, as well as to proceed immediately with the registration of the independent unions, as well with the reinstatement of the dismissed workers based on their trade union activism. 

The Government of Algeria has carried out a series of repressive actions against trade unions including: 

  • In May 2017, the SNATEG had its legal status revoked and the Ministry of Labour made, last December, the announcement that the union had to dissolve.
  • Delegates and representatives were dismissed, harassed and persecuted under false pretences.
  • International Labour Organization (ILO) raised these widespread human rights violations and asked the Government of Algeria to put an end to the abuse.
  • Instead of stopping these violations, the government is intensifying its attacks.
  • On January 20, 2018 police arrested and abused at least 1,000 people who were participating in a peaceful demonstration organized by SNATEG.



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