Gabonese unions representing several sectors organise nationwide strikes

Peaceful Assembly

Over the past few months, Gabon has been rocked by several strikes. On 5th February 2018, a strike organised by the Syndicat libre des transporteurs terrestres du Gabon (Free Union of Land Carriers of Gabon), the main union for taxi drivers in the capital, Libreville, and neighbouring Owendo and Akanda, paralysed the city. The strike erupted over the continuously increasing prices of gas as well as cases of police racketeering. 

In another incident, magistrates went on a general unlimited strike on 13th December 2017 after Minister of Justice Francis Nkéa Ndizigue had publicly accused judges of corruption. The comments were made after the Syndicat national des magistrats du Gabon (Union of Magistrates of Gabon) accused the Justice Minister of interference from the executive branch in the judiciary when the Minister allegedly called on a judge regarding a ruling that was made. The magistrates demanded the Minister's resignation. The strike ended on 26th February 2018 after a reshuffling in the government that caused Nkéa Ndizigue's departure from his post as Minister of Justice. 

On 5th March 2018, the union Syndicat national des enseignants chercheurs du Gabon (National Union of Teachers and Researchers of Gabon) and the Force de réflexion et d’actions pour l’Enseignement supérieur (Force of Reflection and Actions for Higher Education) announced a strike at the University of Omar Bongo in Libreville to demand the rector leave the university. The unions claimed the rector has engaged in smear campaigns against union representatives when confronted with questions around financial issues. The unions suspended the strike on 7th March. 

On 9th March, the trade union confederation Dynamique Unitaire (DA) organised a general unlimited strike for public servants to protest the austerity measures taken by the Council of Ministers as of 23rd February 2018 which affects public servants. In response to a lack of response from authorities regarding a notice of intent to strike submitted on 1st of March, DA announced a general nationwide strike in all sectors from 12th March to demand that labour union rights be respected. The strike organisers also petitioned for a renegotiation of pension plans and the administrative rehabilitation of trade union Convention nationale des syndicats du système éducatif (National Convention of Trade Unions in the Education System). As reported previously on the Monitor, the government suspended the Convention on 17th March 2017, citing "disturbance of public order" as the reason behind the suspension.