DHL workers in Côte d’Ivoire fight for their right to free, fair workplace elections
After a UNI-backed organizing campaign at DHL, SYNAPOSTEL achieved over 80% membership and union recognition in Côte d’Ivoire. However, until now it was not possible to hold correct workplace elections in DHL for nearly a year.
The company went to the country’s labour inspector, who oversees workplace conditions, elections and disputes. The union got refused to present a union slate of candidates for elections, but the labour inspector decided in individual candidacies. The labour inspector unfortunately used outdated documents in his review, keeping SYNAPOSTAL from offering a union block of candidates.
DHL now hold elections without union list. But despite all efforts, the union boycotted these elections and successfully shut them down. DHL management couldn’t find one single individual candidate to run for the workplace elections and had to cancel them.
Cornelia Broos, Head of UNI Post & Logistics: “SYNAPOSTEL sent a loud message to the company and the labour inspector with its boycott—we want our voice to be respected. Without adequate union representation in the process, these elections are shams that do not reflect what workers want.”
The union says prohibiting a slate of candidates is a clear contradiction of Côte d’Ivoire’s labour law. It sent updated information to the labour inspector—including its legitimate union list of candidates.
The Ministry of Labour now came to the conclusion that SYNAPOSTEL is the legitimate “syndicate de base” in DHL and therefore entitled to present their union candidates as a recognized trade union list. To speed up the process and to have proper workplace elections in DHL still this year, UNI calls DHL HR management in Côte d’Ivoire to start the foreseen mediation process together with the union at the labour inspection to solve this situation. DHL workers in Côte d’Ivoire will hopefully soon be able to hold proper elections based on a recognised union list of candidates.
“UNI will continue to support the organizing work in DHL Côte d’Ivoire and will use the protocol with DHL to get ensure all union rights get respected,” said Broos. The organizing work, supported by UNI and funded by Union to Union, enabled the union to grow, gain recognition, and have the power to enforce trade union rights.
UNI Africa and UNI Post & Logistics are following up all this excellent work with further training and support, with additional workshops planned soon.