On February 5, 2019, the police surrounded the office of PSI affiliate SNATEGS and the confederation COSYFOP located at the el-Herrache Commune in Algiers, and proceeded to make arrests and remove of all the COSYFOP posters and banners from inside the office. PSI affiliate SNAPAP has also suffered a similar incident in their office.
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The repression against unionists in Algeria is intensifying after months of protests against the government.
The confederation has been officially informed of the prohibition of any kind of meeting inside their office, which has been sealed off by the military.
This is the latest information we have received about the continuing repression of independent trade unions in Algeria.
Despite the popular uprising and the removal from power of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the current leader of the country, Abdel Majid Tebboune, is continuing the repression.
As protesters reject the 12 December 2019 controversial election results and continue to flood the streets of different cities in Algeria, Raouf Mellal (President of SNATEG), gives us an insight on the situation in the country and the serious threats he has been receiving.
Algeria: Interview with Raouf Mellal
The repression of members of the Confédération Syndicale des Forces Productives (COSYFOP) is happening at the workplace, with dismissals of union members, and in their personal lives with arrests, court cases, death threats and torture.
The examples below have been communicated to PSI from the union:
The President of the Confederation, Brother Mellal Raouf, has been sentenced to prison in more than 12 trials and the official media have launched a campaign accusing him of espionage and other false accusations because of his action at the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the subsequent issue of ILO resolutions and recommendations concerning the right to organise in Algeria. Such accusations can lead to the death penalty in Algeria.
The Secretary General of the Confederation, Brother Abdelkader Kouafi, was sentenced to three months in prison for the statements he made in favour of improving working conditions and the fight against precarious work in the industrial sector.
The President of the National Union of Health Care Workers, Hamza Kherroubi, who has been the victim of a systematic campaign on account of his trade union and political activities in support of the popular movement, was arrested in December 2019 and sentenced to one year in prison with conditional release in return for suspension of all publications and trade union and political activities.
Former Coordinator of the National Federation of Civil Servants in the Education Sector, Rym Kadri, was arrested in November in the wilaya of Ouargla, subjected to psychological torture because of her trade union activities and her support for political detainees, and placed under judicial supervision.
President of the Youth Committee, Mohammad El Amine Slimani, was harassed and summoned because of the media coverage of popular demonstrations in Algiers.
President of the National Federation of Social Security Workers, Merine Ayoub, was arbitrarily dismissed and prosecuted for her trade union activities and support for the popular movement.
Raouf Mellal President, SNATEG
The Algerian Government considers our legitimate Labour case at the ILO as an act of Treason
The leadership of the confederation has been contacted by the government with a call to engage in dialogue, but the call was accompanied by a threat of imprisonment, falsification of charges and torture if the offer was rejected. COSYFOP could not accept any dialogue in such circumstances. The Confederation calls on the authorities to engage in a genuine, serious and transparent dialogue in order to overcome the political and social crisis in the country.
Public Services International, together with Global Union Federations IUF, IndustriALL and ITUC, has addressed a letter to ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, calling on him to insist that the Algerian authorities:
· Guarantee the unconditional release of all those arrested for attempting to exercise their trade union and civic rights and provide guarantees of their safety
· Immediately rescind the closures of the SNAPAP/CGATA and SNATEGS/COSYFOP offices and cease the surveillance of trade union activity
· Take immediate measures to permit the registration and unhindered activity of the independent trade unions, in line with CAS conclusions.
Read the full letter and find out more below.