The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has called for an immediate investigation after police reportedly used “excessive force” to break a strike at the Port of Douala in Cameroon.
Dockers from the ITF-affiliated Confederation Camerounaise du Travail (CCT) were striking on June 22 following a dispute with Groupment Professional des Acconiers de Cameroun (GPAC), a major employer at the Port, when the altercation took place.
According to the ITF, local police used heavy handed tactics in arresting 32 dockers.
The Cameroonian Government must hold those responsible for the violent attacks against striking dockers at the Port of Douala accountable, and reinstate illegally-sacked and suspended dockers. #ITFDockers #Solidarity pic.twitter.com/RVP1psylqT
— ITF Dockers (@ITFDockers) September 10, 2018
In a letter to the Cameroonian government, Paddy Crumlin, ITF President, wrote: “We condemn this brutality – police storming a peaceful, legal strike.
Discover more about Africa's shipping and logistics sectors by reading a Port Technology technical paper
“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.”
Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the ITF, also commented: “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of illegally-dismissed dockers as a matter of urgency, ensure suspensions and sanction against all workers are withdrawn, and ensure that GPAC adheres to the agreement.”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 its affiliate unions, have agreed to act together with the government, port employers and other companies to find a resolution.