The Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU) has today extended solidarity to striking workers of Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport after their employer, FAVORI LLC Airport Management and Ground Handling Company, has flagrantly violated their basic labour rights and continues to commit egregious abuses against them.
A total of 134 workers whose hard work keeps the airport running have now downed their tools, resulting in a work stoppage after their employer, FAVORI LLC, refused to: i) negotiate an equal and fair pay system for the workers; ii) end discrimination and harassment in the workplace; (iii) put an end to the endangerment of the health and safety of workers at work; and iv) stop the unilateral decision to amend the employment contracts which is in total disregard of the existing agreements, the provisions of the federal labour law and international labour standards, in particular ILO Convention 98.
FAVORI LLC has consistently committed gross violations of labour rights by paying lower wages to Somali workers, while paying huge wages to non-nationals (both senior and lower management), despite largely receiving colossal profits achieved through the sweat of Somali workers.
“We fully support the airport workers, employed by FAVORI LLC, for declaring a collective labour dispute to resist the company’s refusal to respect workers’ rights, ensure decent working conditions and total disrespect of Somali labour laws and international norms,” declared Omar Faruk Osman, General Secretary of FESTU.”
“The rights abuses committed by FAVORI LLC have continued unabated over the past eight years and all attempts to counter this anti-labour behaviour have failed. The company continues to systematically disregard Somali laws and international labour standards with impunity. These abuses are unacceptable and must stop,” added Osman.
FESTU would like to point out that before the start of the collective labour dispute, the workers and their union tried to amicably resolve all contentious issues through dialogue. In particular, FESTU and its sister federation in Turkey, HAK-IS Confederation, have made several attempts to resolve labour rights violations, but unfortunately, the employer has deliberately avoided holding conciliation procedures and negotiations as provided for by Somali law.
Apart from being a constitutional right, the right of workers to protest/strike is a fundamental human right and all employers are required by law to respect and uphold these fundamental rights. FAVORI must therefore desist from employing illegal tactics of reprisals against striking workers.
FESTU calls on the Somali government and airport management to fully implement Somali labour law and international labour standards to end the labour abuses committed against Somali workers by FAVORI LLC and extend solidarity to the poor Somali airport workers who have been deliberately discriminated against and prejudiced.