ITF: Madagascan Gov’t Faces ILO Complaint about Fired Dockers

Image Courtesy: Offshore and Home Trade Seamen's Welfare Trust

The Government of Madagascar has faced an International Labour Organization (ILO) complaint about its treatment of 43 dockworkers who were laid off for joining a union, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) informed.

The complaint has been lodged by the ITF on behalf of Madagascan Toamasina Port workers and the union SYGMMA.

Steve Cotton, General Secretary of the ITF, said the global union federation took this action after the Madagascan government refused to obey a court order which found the workers should be allowed to join a union and organize for better working conditions.

“Many of these workers earn just USD 40 a month and were engaged in legitimate union activity to try and improve their working conditions. They face very dangerous working conditions and stood up in the face of intimidation and retaliation from management,” Cotton pointed out.

Although the local union took action through the Madagascan Courts and won, the country’s government has refused to obey the court direction.

None of the 43 workers who were fired have been reinstated.

“We have not taken this step lightly but unless the Madagascan government reinstates the sacked workers they will face international condemnation for failure to observe the basic human rights of their own citizens,” Cotton added.

Paddy Crumlin, ITF President and Chair of the ITF Dockers’ Section, said that unions across the world are standing beside the Malagasy 43.

“The government needs to understand that unions across the globe are supporting these workers and won’t rest until they receive justice. The ITF will be coordinating escalating action to get the message to the government that they must act to reinstate these workers,” Crumlin noted.

The lodging of the complaint follows worldwide action last month at Madagascan embassies which highlighted the plight of Malagasy 43.

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