ITF calls for urgent government intervention following vicious attacks and imprisonment of dockers in Cameroon

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has written to the Cameroonian government to express the global trade union movement’s outrage over the violent attacks against striking dockers and the arrest of 32 workers at the Port of Douala.

In a letter to President Paul Biya the ITF strongly condemned the use of excessive force and arrests of dockers who were peacefully and legally on strike on June 22 and called on the Cameroonian Government to immediately intervene and investigate.

Paddy Crumlin, ITF President and Dockers’ Section Chair, said today: “We condemn this brutality – police storming a peaceful, legal strike. The ITF, and unions worldwide, are appalled by these heavy-handed tactics. The international community cannot condone the use of excessive force and violence to break a lawful strike.”

“This attack left many dockers seriously injured and hospitalised, with one worker losing his hand. 32 dockers were also arrested and detained. Following this incident, unionised workers have been targeted, illegally dismissed and suspended without notice.”

Syndicat National Libre des Dockers et Activités Connexes du Cameroun (SYNALIDOACC) and the ITF-affiliated dockers’ union Confédération Camerounaise du Travail (CCT) commenced legal strike action at the Port of Douala over concerns relating to the non-compliance of employers group, Groupement Professionnel des Acconiers de Cameroun (GPAC), with their collective bargaining agreement. Bolloré Africa Logistics is a member of GPAC and a major employer at the port.

Stephen Cotton, ITF General Secretary today called on the government to act: “The Cameroonian government must implement an independent investigation into the violent attacks and use of excessive force and hold those responsible for these violations accountable.”

“These actions in response to legal protest action seriously violate a fundamental workers’ right to freely associate, as enshrined in the Conventions of the International Labour Organization.”

“The government must also ensure the reinstatement of illegally-dismissed dockers as a matter of urgency, ensure suspensions and sanction against all workers are withdrawn, and ensure that GPAC adheres to the agreement.”

“The ITF and our affiliate unions are willing to act together in solidarity to work with the government, port employers and other companies which operate at the port to find a resolution to the ongoing issues there.”

For more information contact

Luke Menzies, International Transport Workers’ Federation

menzies_luke@itf.org.uk

+61 (0) 433 889 844

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