- It has been discovered that the law and practice in Mauritius is in breach of the International Labour Organisation's core labour conventions ratified by the country.
This revealation was contained in a new report released by the International Trade Union Confederation [ITUC]. The report's publication coincides with Mauritius' trade policy review at the World Trade Organisation.
On paper, Mauritius guarantees the right to organise and bargain collectively, but at the same time the Industrial Relations Act provides the government with far-reaching powers to delay strikes and even declare them illegal should they be considered likely to damage the country's, thus effectively preventing the effective exercise of the right to strike.
Besides, the national law grants the public authorities the further possibility of refusing the registration of a trade union on grounds of non compliance with various arbitrary and ambiguous stipulations.
The report also detailed the bad working conditions existing in the country's export processing zones where the legislation in force allows employers to require compulsory overtime and where the working hours exceed those applying to other sectors of activity.
In addition to being openly discriminated against, Migrant workers performing jobs in enterprises located in the export processing zones also receive lower wages than nationals.
Mauritius is blamed for not suficiently enforcing legislation against discrimination, which has resulted to a gap between women and men in terms of remuneration and access to education, employment and government services. Sexual harassment is a common practice at the workplace, yet is not adequately addressed by the government, the ITUC survey reveals.
Another area of concern raised by the report is the government's minimal efforts to implement legal provisions against child labour and child prostitution as evidenced by its Labour Ministry's low employment of inspectors. It also linked the living and working conditions of some workers to forced labour, in breach of the ILO core labour standards. This includes girls forced into prostitution.
Mauritius government is advised to redress its non-compliance with the ILO core labout standards and implement effective policies that could tackle the many major problems the country is confronted with today.
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