The Protection of Workers Rights in Cameroon; An Appraisal
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This study focuses on the protection of workers’ rights in Cameroon: an appraisal. The role of international laws and treaties and other national laws as well as the role of the courts, government, employers and employees in the protection of workers’ rights has been expatiated in the course of this work. More still, an assessment on the role of the court, the government, employers and employees on the protection of workers’ rights has been discussed. How successful and some loop-holes that arises in the course of protecting workers’ rights in Cameroon.
The research method used in this work is purely doctrinal which is commonly used in law. This research adopts the qualitative method. This method is suitable for this research because it analysis the problem and does not make use of statistical data. The sources of data here are both primary and secondary data. Primary data is obtained from International Labour Organisation (ILO), International Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Right, (ICESCR), Cameroon Labour Code (CLC), AND Cameroon Constitution, (CC). Secondary data include journals, newspapers, articles, and computerized work.
The putting in place of international and national regulations and institutions (Courts) to protect workers’ rights in Cameroon has greatly improved on the working conditions of workers in Cameroon. These laws include; the Labour Code, the Constitution, ILO, UDHR, ICESCR. In spite of these regulations put in place, and ratified by the government of Cameroon, workers’ rights are still being violated. There is therefore need to carry out an investigation on the rights of workers to be able to understand the challenges faced by the government in the respect, protection and fulfillment of these rights.
Before the coming of the European in Africa, and Cameroon in particular, labour work has been one of the people’s greatest activity especially among the coastal people in the form of subsistence farming or agriculture. During this period, work was done based on social participation to others farmlands. Though no form of payment existed during this period, work was done voluntarily out of the will of the parties carrying out the activity. But however, little payment existed as parties could carry back home some food crops without pay to their household. This system of labour and work continued till the introduction of the barter system of trade. This period brought a change in the labour activities of the coastal people as they wipe away the voluntary service and provision of food to their coastal population as a system of payment for work done. The Advent of the barter trade made it difficult for the less privilege to acquire food from the more privilege as such; those who could not acquire food for barter trade were force to undergo forced labour from the already privileged. This system was termed domestic or traditional form of slavery and slave trade. By 1800 century, another form of forced labour was introduced where people were transported from one country to other to work against their will. This system was encouraged by the already existing slave trade which many Africans and Cameroonian Coastal people were practicing. This system did not take into consideration the protection of workers right due to the lack of International and National conventions aimed at protecting workers right since there existed no payment for any work done. The notion of forced labour continued till the advent of the German annexation in the 1884-85 when they brought in a hidden agenda on the bases of respecting Article VI of the 1884 Berlin Conference aimed at the abolition of slave trade and forced labour which they failed to respect. They introduced forced labour for much work done with little or no pay in their plantations.
By the end of the 19th Century, international community saw the effect of forced labour on the people and as such, Conventions were put in place to see on how labour and labourers can be protected at work place. They equally encourage them on the right to join trade unions and the right to strike as a means of protecting their rights. Some of these international conventions were ratified and put to action by other nations and Cameroon in particular. These International Conventions include; International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, (ICESCR), International Labour Organisation (ILO), International Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
At the National level, Cameroon has ratified and put in place these laws. Law No. 92/007 of 14 August, 1992 putting in place the Cameroon Labour Code, and also the preamble of the Cameroon Constitution equally ratify these international conventions.
The respect and protection of workers’ right is one of the greatest priorities of many states in the world and Cameroon in particular. Over the past years, Cameroon through it institutional mechanisms have failed in the protection and implementation of these rights regulating the protection of workers. It has been observed that instruments for the protection of workers’ right have some great progress in the field of drafting the legislations but acquire a great failure in their implementations.
As a priority of every state to protect the rights of its workers, regulations have been put in place to protect workers’ rights in time of crises like Civil Wars and general or serious Pandemic affecting the world like the COVID-19.But however, though serious measures have been put in place to protect workers against the pandemic, some workers like civil servants and those teaching in the private sectors have suffered greatly. For instance, teachers in the private sectors like those teaching in the Presbyterian Institutions have suffered greatly in the course of this pandemic as their salaries have greatly been deducted as well as failure to pay them on time.
This research is geared in answering the following questions
Are there National and International law regulating the Protection of Workers’ Right?
What is the role of the Cameroon courts in the protection of workers’ right?
Are the rights of workers’ effectively protected by the Cameroon legislation?
What are the policy recommendations that can be put in place to curb the challenges face in the protection of workers’ rights
The purpose of this research is to examine Cameroon’s effectiveness in the protection of workers’ rights
- To examine the national laws regulating the protection of workers’ right in Cameroon.
- To examine International Conventions regulating the protection of workers’ right in Cameroon.
- To examine the role of courts in the protection of workers’ right in Cameroon.
- To make policy recommendations to redress the problems raised.