In clear breach of national laws and international standards which ensure workers’ right to organize, Onomo Hotel management is running an active union-busting campaign against members of IUF affiliate FHTRC in Conakry, Guinea. On June 26, workers at the Onomo Hotel Conakry submitted a majority petition requesting an election to elect trade union delegates from FHTRC. Guinean law requires that employers allow any union wishing to represent workers to present candidates for delegate elections; however, Onomo management sought to restrict the election to only one government-backed union and scheduled an illegal election for July 14. Although the Guinean Labor Inspectorate forced the postponement of this illegal election, Onomo management has refused to schedule a new election in which FHTRC can participate. In the last few weeks, management has sought to intimidate FHTRC members by holding captive audience meetings interrogating them about their reasons for affiliating with FHTRC, and by attempting to force all employees without permanent contracts – almost 50% of the workforce – to apply as subcontracted employees with the Guinean subcontracting agency BCEIP.
Onomo Hotels is partially financed by British International Investment (BII), the UK development bank, which loaned $46 million USD to the company in 2017. As part of the IUF’s ongoing fight to ensure rights for hotel workers in development finance, the IUF and GLJ-ILRF have recently filed complaints with BII concerning violations of national law, international standards, and BII’s own safeguards on the freedom of association.
As the fight continues, the IUF is calling on BII and Onomo management to:
- Schedule elections to allow all eligible workers to vote in accordance with Guinean law
- Grant permanent contracts to workers who have worked at Onomo for over two years as temporary staff in accordance with Guinean law
- Cease all forms of anti-union intimidation and harassment and allow the workers to participate in a free and fair election
Amadou Diallo, Deputy General Secretary of FHTRC stated, “When the IFC loaned money to build the Sheraton Grand Conakry and BII followed with an investment in the Onomo Hotel, we hoped that development money would bring good jobs with rights. So far, we have seen the opposite. We call on BII and all development banks to ensure that workers have the right to organize free from employer intimidation.”