Government of Algeria must recognize NOW workers' right to form independent trade unions

02.06.14 Urgent Action
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Algeria's bogus elections have come and gone, and Algerian workers continue to be denied their right to form independent trade unions. CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT OF ALGERIA!

According to a recent Human Rights Watch report, "Workers in Algeria are stymied at every turn when they try to form independent unions and act collectively. The government punishes peaceful protesters and strikers, including with retaliatory suspensions or dismissals from public service jobs, and arbitrarily arrests and prosecutes union activists on politically motivated charges."

On June 9 last year, unions submitted to the Labour Ministry the legal documents required to register the newly-founded General Autonomous Confederation for Algerian Workers (Confédération générale autonome des travailleurs algériens - CGATA), a national federation of autonomous unions including organizations in the private sector. According to Algerian law, CGATA should have been granted full legal status within 30 days. One year later, it is still waiting for the application to be confirmed. CGATA held its second well attended general national assembly on March 29.

Legal recognition would facilitate CGATA's ability to function without government interference and repression and to affiliate new unions, including in the private sector where independent unions currently enjoy no legal protection. The ILO Committee on Freedom of Association has in the past highlighted the Algerian government's violations of Conventions 87 and 98, but this year, for the first time, the ILO's Committee on the Application of Standards will be reviewing Algeria's record on upholding fundamental trade union rights at the International Labour Conference now underway in Geneva. The moment is ripe to tell the Labour Minister and other government officials: register without delay the CGATA and stop violating the human rights of Algerian workers!