Algerian government escalates its war on independent unions
The government of Algeria is escalating its war on worker rights and independent trade unions following a critical report issued by the ILO Committee on the Application of Standards at this year's International Labour Conference. Independent unions face a new wave of repression and have been personally, viciously attacked by the Labour Minister, who has also threatened to withdraw Algeria from the ILO.
Speaking at a government press conference on June 12, the minister attacked by name Rachid Maalaoui, President of the public sector union SNAPAP and Raouf Mellal, President of the electricity union SNATEG, for fomenting an ILO campaign against Algerian sovereignty in an attempt to undermine the country's 'stability'. Mellal, who has already been sentenced to 18 months in prison and punitive fines for denouncing corruption and defending a victim of sexual harassment, faces yet another round of prosecution on new, spurious charges. The government has persistently attempted to illegally dissolve SNATEG, and the Autonomous General Confederation of Workers in Algeria (CGATA) has been waiting in vain for formal legal recognition since 2013, a procedure which according to law requires no more than 30 days. Hundreds of union members, officers and activists have been dismissed from their jobs, union offices closed and union demonstrations brutally attacked by the police.
SNAPAP and SNATEG are affiliated members of the IUF.