ITUC OnLine – October 2, 2007

Brussels, 2 October 2007 (ITUC OnLine) : The ITUC released a new report today on core labour standards in Gabon and Cameroon. This report coincides with both countries´ trade policy reviews at the WTO and highlights important shortcomings in the application and enforcement of core labour standards, with many contradictions between the principles of these binding legal instruments and their application in both countries.

The exercise of freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining is poor in both countries. The ILO´s expert committees have been urging these governments to comply with the principles of these standards for a considerable time but to little effect.

Women and minorities suffer open discrimination in the workplace and very few measures are being taken to tackle the situation. Once again, the ILO, through its supervisory bodies, has called on the governments to implement programmes and national policies to promote occupational equality, including the prohibition of sexual harassment at the workplace.

Child labour is an extremely serious problem, due to weak enforcement of the law and the many displaced children that are vulnerable to exploitation as child labourers. Trafficking and forced labour take place in both countries, with children, women and minorities such as pygmies most at risk. The ILO has continued urging both countries to amend their legislation so as to tackle child and forced labour and trafficking.

The report ends with a summary of recommendations and conclusions addressed to the governments of Gabon and Cameroon in an attempt to redress the situation of non-compliance with the ILO core labour standards, and aimed at encouraging and promoting effective policies to tackle the major labour rights shortcomings that workers in both countries face today.

Click here to read the full report.