FAVORI LLC continues to display blatant disregard for fundamental rights of Somali workers

The Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU) has noted, with grave concern, that the labour practices of FAVORI LLC has reached a new and deplorable low. 

Over time, through blatant disregard for the laws of Somalia and the International Labour Standards, FAVORI LLC has shown that injustice and human rights abuses are now commonplace and intrinsic parts of its workplace culture. 

FESTU and union shop stewards have long been engaging with FAVORI on its labour record. However, rather than moving towards resolution of the many complaints made by FAVORI workers at Somalia’s airport, the litany of human rights violations against the company continue to mount.

Although Somalia has a labour legislation and labour movement is advocating for a vibrant labour rights climate, FAVORI has consistently and flagrantly ignored these fundamental rights. The contracts given to workers fall shockingly short of complying with domestic labour legislation and the international labour standards, as they deny workers certain fundamental rights. 

FAVORI workers are prevented from collective bargaining and thus denied the opportunity to negotiate improvements and demand fairness in their working conditions. 

“Not only is FAVORI blocking workers from their right to union representation during discussions, it has systematically been involved in activities intended to disrupt and destabilise union activities,” said Omar Faruk Osman, FESTU’s Secretary General.  “This is an egregious attempt to stifle the voices of workers and ensure that human rights violations at the workplace remain hidden and therefore, ongoing.”

FAVORI has also denied the right to strike, a clear violation of Article 24 of the Provisional Constitution of the Republic, Paragraph 3, which states “Every worker has the right to strike”. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has now been a feature of life and work in Somalia and the globe for over six months. It is therefore unacceptable that FAVORI employees have not been paid salary arrears amassed during this COVID-19 period. Many FAVORI workers still do not have safety equipment. This puts workers at unnecessary risks to their personal health which has severe and permanent repercussions; FESTU has learned that some injured workers have been dismissed, revealing that FAVORI has failed to comply with its obligations to provide care for its employees.  

In June 2020, FAVORI issued a disturbing memo to its security personnel, indicating that, as a sign of respect, they are required to stand when a manager passes by. The tone of this letter, with its leanings towards militarism & enslavement, is diametrically opposed to the direction Somalia is trying to take with its development. In addition, the letter was instructive and dictatorial, disregarding the fact that workplace rules should be negotiated rather than imposed.

Most recently FESTU witnessed, through threats and interference directed to its leadership, by Banadir Regional Police Commander, General Sadaq Omar Mohamed (Sadaq John), to suppress the rights of FAVORI workers and dilute the role of the union. This was clearly intended to divert focus away from FAVORI’s illegal activities towards its workers and obfuscate the real issues at hand. 

As a result of these actions which, collectively, violate the rights of workers, FESTU:

  1. Calls on the President of Somalia to intervene and end the securitising of labour concerns in the workplace. 
  2. Calls for the end of the involvement of the police in labour issues which only ever serve to curtail workers’ rights. After witnessing Sadaq John’s attempts of threats, FESTU is clear that should any physical harm comes to FAVORI workers and/or FESTU leadership, the Police Commander will be held responsible and all necessary steps will be taken to bring him to justice.
  3. Calls on the President and the Prime Minister of Somalia to urgently instruct the Somali government officials to revisit or cancel its contract with FAVORI. It is clear that FAVORI has little respect for the laws of the country and even less for the culture of human rights and justice that Somalia is working so hard to instil. FAVORI’s conduct and abuse of workers has gone unchecked for far too long. 

In its case against FAVORI for its continued abuses of human and labour rights in the country, FESTU, in conjunction with International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC) and ITUC-Africa, is currently making official submissions to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and relevant UN human rights structures.

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