Central Africa Trade Unions

by | August 19, 2020


According to Countryaah.com, Equatorial Guinea is a country located in Central Africa. The right to organize in a trade union does not work in practice. The country has not sent a delegation to the ILO’s annual conference nor a report. The ILO has called on the government to ensure that legislation is modernized to comply with the ILO’s core conventions.

Human rights organizations have been able to establish that forced labor and slavery occur in mines and on cocoa plantations.

More than 20,000 refugees from Equatorial Guinea live in Gabon. Of these, there are many who are union active there. This group can be an embryo of a trade union organization in Equatorial Guinea on the day this becomes possible. The political opposition that is now allowed in the country, following outside pressure, also has a program of trade union activity.

Equatorial Guinea


A trade union organization controlled by the Ministry of Labor has been reported, but no trade union activity has ever been noted in the country. Two unions, the Union Guinea Ecuatorial Workers’ Union (UST) and the Independente de Servicios (SIS), have both been denied registration.


Gabon is one of 9 countries in Central Africa. The union has a relatively strong position in the country and has often achieved success through strike actions, despite the fact that the right to strike is severely restricted. In 2019, among others, the oil workers went on strike. Violations of trade union rights are common; immigrants lack rights and much attention has been paid to the widespread child labor and trafficking in children, despite the fact that Gabon has ratified the ILO Convention against Child Labor.



There are currently three central trade unions in Gabon; the faithful, the Confédération Syndicale Gabonaise (COSYGA) with 22,800 members and the Confédération Gabonaise des Syndicats Libres (CGSL) with 19,000 members. Both are connected to the World Trade unions, the International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC.

In 2009, a third independent central organization for public employees, the Syndicats de l’Administration publique (COSYNAP), was formed, to which, among others, one of the two teacher organizations and the health workers joined.

Until 1980, COSYGA was the only permitted trade union organization in the country. CGSL has developed rapidly and is today the trade union movement that best represents the employees in Gabon. The CGSL has frequently used the strike weapon and often challenged the government.


The right to strike is enshrined in labor law, but dismissals due to trade union activity are not uncommon.

The union split has become an argument for the authorities to ignore the union.

Republic of the Congo


During the communist era forced the unions conform to one of the regime approved trade union confederation Confédération Syndicale Congolaise (CSC), but g eNom several political strikes in the 1990’s broke the CSC loose from dependence and contributed greatly to the democratization of the country.

In addition to the CSC, which has 36,391 members, there are currently two other central organizations: the Confédération Syndicale des Travailleurs du Congo (CSTC) with 68,500 and the Confédération des Syndicats Libres et Autonomes du Congo (COSYLAC) with 13,675 members.

COSYLAC mainly organizes public employees and has been heavily involved in the fight against the extensive privatizations. CSC, CSTC and COSYLAC are affiliated to the International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC.


The right to form trade unions, to strike and to collectively negotiate wages is constitutionally protected, but those rules are not always complied with.

Trade union actions occur.

Sao Tome and Principe


São Tomé and Príncipe has two central trade unions affiliated to the International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC :

Organization of National Workers of São Tomé and Príncipe-Central Sindica (ONTSTP-CS) with 4,000 members and União Geral de Trabalhadores of São Tomé and Principe, (UGI-STP) with 7,684 members. The organizations work closely with the trade unions in Gabon.