IndustriALL joins the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in protesting the seizure of union offices, freezing of bank accounts and harassment of trade unionists by the government of Afghanistan.
IndustriALL answered the call to ITUC affiliates by sending a letter to the country’s president, after the government ignored repeated calls for dialogue.
This follows a decree issued by the government of Afghanistan on 31 August 2016, mandating the seizure of all property of the National Union of Afghanistan Workers and Employees (NUAWE), the Afghanistan Farmers’ Cooperative Union, and the Youth Union, and the transfer and registration of it as state property.
In April this year, the ITUC and NUAWE – Afghanistan’s only national trade union centre – filed a complaint with the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association against the decree. Instead of opening dialogue, the Afghan government sent armed police and military to raid and seal NUAWE property in Kabul and 16 districts. One of the buildings has been taken over by the Ministry of Defence.
The union’s bank accounts have been frozen, its certification has not been renewed, and freedom of expression has been hindered. All offices of the union remain closed, and staff have not been paid for five months.
In the letter, IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches echoed the ITUC call, saying:
“We call on your government to immediately withdraw the decision to seize union property and to allow for appeal against any court order to confiscate union property, as well as against the pertinent Government Decree.
“In light of the ILO’s centenary and its commitment to universal ratification of core labour standards by 2019, we also call on your government to ratify ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, as a matter of urgency. “