Collective Bargaining in African Countries by B. C. Roberts, L. Greyfié De Bellecombe (auth.)

By B. C. Roberts, L. Greyfié De Bellecombe (auth.)

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In accordance with the policy of the Government, which is to reduce the differences in the conditions of employment of various categories of workers, the intention is to reduce the number of agreements to six and to broaden the application of each -for example, one agreement will cover all employment in industry. 1 They were applied in Togo before independence although that territory was never part of the former Federation. • Source : Ministere du Travail. 12 The Areas of Employment covered by Collective Agreements Guinea.

In the second place, as the main employers in most Mrican countries, governments have exercised an important influence on the development of collective bargaining. We shall not, at this stage, discuss the nature and significance of the legislation introduced by governments for the purpose of regulating industrial relations; we shall notice, however, the role of governments as employers. In this role the behaviour of governments has not infrequently been in contradiction to their legislative action.

The initial response of governments and private employers to the emergence of trade unions and collective demands for improvements in wages and working conditions was one of hostility. Governments were fearful that unions would cause disruption and give rise to acute political and economic problems ; private employers were outraged by the temerity of their employees, who had challenged their prerogative to determine the terms and conditions on which a man was to be employed. Employers believed that to accede to the demands of the unions would be tantamount to giving up their right and authority to manage ; they feared that the consequence would be economic ruin and they expected the Government to support their view.

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