Published on IUF UITA IUL
New government attacks on independent union in Algeria
24 January 2018 Urgent Action
The government of Algeria has further escalated its attacks on the independent energy union SNATEGS, which organizers workers at the state energy company SONELGAZ. SNATEGS is affiliated to the IUF through its catering workers.In May 2017, the union had its legal status revoked and the Labour Ministry made the fabricated claim in December that the union had formally voted to dissolve itself. Hundreds of union members, delegates and officers have been dismissed, harassed and persecuted on bogus legal charges for exercising their fundamental rights. Union President Raouf Mellal was sentenced to 6 months in prison for exposing a long history of SONELGAZ fraudulently overcharging Algerians for their utility bills.
Now the government is inventing new charges to persecute Mellal and cripple the union. On November 28 the union president was sentenced in absentia to two months in prison and fined EUR 5,000 for allegedly defaming SONELGAZ. The court hearing will take place on January 30.
Mellal has learned that he was sentenced in absentia in January last year to 6 months in prison and a fine of EUR 2,000 in a suit brought by the director of a security agency following a complaint of sexual harassment by a women worker who was fired as a consequence. Mellal was sued for defamation after expressing his solidarity with the victim. Expressing solidarity with a victim of sexual harassment now risks imprisonment in Algeria…
And on January 17 2018 he was sentenced to 3 months’ imprisonment and fined EUR 3,000 in yet another ‘defamation’ lawsuit brought by SONELGAZ. As a consequence of these absurd and arbitrary judicial decisions Raouf Mellal has been forbidden to leave the country.