Published: 16/12/2009

In Hassi Messaoud, Algeria, 850 kilometers southeast of Algiers, Eurest Support Services, a subsidiary of Compass Group, subcontracts catering and hospitality services to a score of multinationals like Schlumberger, Halliburton, Repsol, BP, Ciepsa, Burlington. Hundreds of  ESS employees live in tents; under desert temperatures, and suffer difficult hygiene and living conditions. Shifts last 6 weeks without a day off. Monthly salary is on average 18.000 dinars (185 Euros). In December 2006, ESS workers decided to create a union to defend their dignity and to improve their working conditions. But management intervened to prevent them from doing so, suspending the general secretary and dismissing at least 10 other union activists.

Yacine, who had an exemplary work record with Compass, started to have problems with management after he was elected general secretary of the union. After being suspended from work, the company decided to pursue him through he courts. He has faced identical allegations in numerous different cases, amounting to 22 court hearings over three years.

The IUF has submitted a complaint to the  OECD UK National Contact Point relating to the case of Yacine Zaid and his co-workers and  is calling on Compass to reinstate Yacine, and allow these Eurest workers to access their right to form and join a union and have their union represent them and negoitate their terms and conditions of employment.