Ports and Logistics

ITF urges intervention following vicious attacks and imprisonment of dockers in Cameroon

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has written to the Cameroonian government to express the global trade union movement’s outrage over the violent attacks against striking dockers and the arrest of 32 workers at the Port of Douala.

In a letter to President Paul Biya, the ITF strongly condemned the use of excessive force and arrests of dockers who were peacefully and legally on strike on June 22, and called on the Cameroonian government to immediately intervene and investigate.

Paddy Crumlin, ITF president and dockers’ section chair, commented: “We condemn this brutality – police storming a peaceful, legal strike. The ITF, and unions worldwide, are appalled by these heavy-handed tactics. The international community cannot condone the use of excessive force and violence to break a lawful strike.”

The attack left many dockers seriously injured and hospitalised, with one worker losing his hand. Dockers were also arrested and detained. Following this incident, unionised workers have been targeted, illegally dismissed and suspended without notice.

Syndicat National Libre des Dockers et Activités Connexes du Cameroun (SYNALIDOACC) and the ITF-affiliated dockers’ union Confédération Camerounaise du Travail (CCT) commenced legal strike action at the Port of Douala over concerns relating to the non-compliance of employers group, Groupement Professionnel des Acconiers de Cameroun (GPAC), with their collective bargaining agreement. Bolloré Africa Logistics is a member of GPAC and a major employer at the port.

Stephen Cotton, ITF general secretary today called on the government to act: “The Cameroonian government must implement an independent investigation into the violent attacks and use of excessive force and hold those responsible for these violations accountable.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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