The Solidarity Center supports Algerian trade unions to use transformative education to build knowledge and understanding of the mechanisms and rules affecting workers in the context of the global economy, to advance working women’s equality in the union and in society, to reach out to the country’s disaffected youth by proving a space for them to organize, and to mobilize worker voice and action for labor rights and decent work.
Organized labor has historically been at the forefront of political change, economic development, and social inclusion in Algeria. Today, illegal labor practices, gender discrimination, corruption, violence and increasing poverty threaten the fundamental freedoms of expression and association. Half a decade after the end of an extreme and protracted civil conflict, only 30 percent of Algerian workers enjoy salaried employment as the informal sector grows out of control and the private sector looks increasingly to temporary and part time contracts on which to employ their workers. The working and living standards of the country's 1.5 million civil servants are under serious threat from rapid and unregulated public sector reforms.
Since 2005, the Solidarity Center has worked with the 1.3 million-member General Union of Algerian Workers (UGTA)
through important partnerships with the National Institute of Trade Union Education and Research (INERS), the National Commission of Working Women (CNFT), and the National Youth Commission, which all play key roles in education, training and recruitment of union members throughout the vast country. The Solidarity Center also partners with national federations and workers in the strategic industries of oil and transportation, who are committed to giving voice to workers. In addition, the Solidarity Center works with several of the countries key autonomous unions, through the coordinating committee of autonomous civil service unions (Intersyndicale Autonome de la Fonction Publique - IAFP
) including the 300,000 member strong National Autonomous Union of Public Administration Workers (Snapap)
. The twenty-plus autonomous unions operating in Algeria today represent over 600,000 workers in health, education, local and national government. Despite the fact that autonomous unions are currently excluded by the state from collective bargaining and social dialogue, they continue to mount a vigorous defense of worker rights.
The Solidarity Center also works with the National Journalist’s Union (SNJ), to support a regional network of journalists’ unions. To do this, we are using a worker rights approach to training union members in the uses of electronic media and new communication tools to recruit new members, defend the socio-professional rights of journalists in the region, and advance freedom of expression in the region.
Activist Who Filmed Protest in Algeria Jailed for 'Insulting State Institutions.'
August 24, 2012Worker and Human Rights activist Abdelkader Kherba has been imprisoned after he filmed a citizens' protest brought on by chronic water cuts affecting the inland town of Ksar El Boukhari in Algeria. Kherba was detained August 22. His family has since learned that Kherba was transferred to the town prison. He is due to stand trial on August 28, according to the undpendent union of public administration workers, SNAPAP, a Solidarity Center partner.
One Dead and Four 'Disappeared' in Algeria Following Peaceful March
. July 17, 2012—Some 45,000 community guardians engaged in a peaceful march on July 11, following the 30-mile-long route between Blida and the capital city of Algiers. They planned to submit a petition to the minister of the interior protesting their precarious working conditions. But a 2,000-strong force of riot police used water cannons and extreme violence to break up the march, resulting in more than 700 arrests.
Algerian Workers Risk Health, Protest Government Crackdown with Hunger Strike.
May 31, 2012—After more than three weeks on a hunger strike to protest government repression of the independent trade union movement, six women and two men from Algeria’s National Federation of Justice Workers are increasingly frail and face grave, possibly permanent, health threats. A ninth worker suspended his hunger strike. ACT NOW!
Algeria: Dozens of Contract Teachers Arrested during Peaceful Protest.
February 29, 2012—Continuing a pattern of blatant worker and human rights abuse, the Algerian government arrested dozens of unionized contract teachers affiliated with the Syndicat National Autonome des Personnels de l'Administration Publique (SNAPAP, the national independent union of public-sector workers) in three incidents while the teachers were exercising their right to peaceful protest.
Letter from AFL-CIO International Director Cathy Feingold to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, March 4, 2011
Statement of support from General Union of Algerian Workers (UGTA) to Wisconsin state public employees, March 1, 2011.
See what workers around the world
are doing to support their union brothers and sisters in Wisconsin.
Algerian Government Shuts Down Union Offices, Blocks Website.
On May 12, 2010, the Prefect of Algiers Province, under the Ministry of the Interior, closed the House of Labor—headquarters of a coalition of independent unions representing more than 600,000 health, education, and government workers. The order was given less than two days before unions from Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania, Egypt, Europe, and the United States were to attend a Maghreb Union Forum. Since then, the union website has been shut down.
Education for Change: Sowing the Seeds of Solidarity
. Solidarity Center hosts a seven-member delegation of women union educators from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, and Yemen.
Women’s Regional Empowerment Network (WREN)
. This Solidarity Center program is training over 100 women in Algeria, Bahrain, and Jordan, as labor educators and activists in their unions and communities.
Algeria: Images of Working Women
. An International Women’s Day photo exhibit showcases images of women by women, raising awareness of their crucial contribution to the Algerian economy.
Algerian Teachers Suspend Hunger Strike but Not Their Struggle
. Members of the Conseil National des Enseignants Contractuels protest a system where long-term contract workers are denied their rights by a system that hires on a “temporary” basis, in some cases for over 10 years.
Preventing Oil and Gas Explosions in Algeria
. Oil and gas explosions account for thousands of worker deaths worldwide. In Algeria, where oil and gas production is the leading industry, a 2004 explosion at a liquefied natural gas plant in the port city of Skikda killed 27 works and shut down a nearby oil refinery for weeks.
Solidarity Center Publications
- Gender Programming Manual (2006). This 70-page handbook incorporates staff insights and experiences into checklists and tools needed to develop programs that redress gender inequity in the workplace, promote leadership roles for women, and move closer to achieving full worker rights.