Cameroon's teacher unions have condemned sanctions imposed by public authorities in Cameroon which threaten the exercise of their trade union rights by workers.
"The first sanctions were imposed on Thursday, 17 July," explained Roger Kaffo Fokou, the union spokesman in the negotiations with the government and General Secretary of the Syndicat national autonome de l'enseignement secondaire (SNAES), an EI affiliate. "The first strong trade union foundations, which were painfully put into place following the systematic dismantling of trade union rights in the 1990s and 2000s, are now being dismantled in turn.
"Our foundations are being taken apart faster than we have the means to implement them and, at this rate, soon there will no longer be any form of trade unionism left in Cameroon. Additionally, the technical and financial support, provided by Lärarförbundet, will be undermined if the Cameroonian government prevents the implementation of the structures which it is used to set up."
He added: "It is a pretty serious situation deserving of a strong and immediate reaction. In order to prove its determination, the Ministry of Secondary Education decided to fund only the trade unions that obtained government approval, contrary to the provisions of ILO Convention 87, which has been ratified by Cameroon."
Finally, Kaffo Fokou called for strong action, both from EI and Swedish trade union Lärarförbundet, aimed at the EU and the Head of the Cameroonian State. According to him, only this type of action can enable trade unionism to survive in Cameroon.
EI: International solidarity
EI expressed its solidarity with education unions in Cameroon. "We would like to assure our colleagues in Cameroon that they have the full support of the international teaching community," said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. "We urge the government to stop all repression orchestrated against Cameroonian teachers, and to ensure respect of their human and trade union rights."