Supporting Progress on Labor Standards in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Issue

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), labour governance institutions, including the Labour Inspectorate and Labour Courts, are weak. They lack skills, knowledge, clear operating procedures and human and financial resources. Workers’ organizations are fragmented and employers’ organizations do not always understand the benefits of well-functioning labour institutions. These shortfalls have a direct impact on workers’ rights as compliance with labour laws is not promoted. Violations of workers’ rights related to safety and health at work, wages and hours of work (Acceptable Conditions of Work) as well as discrimination based on all grounds are common. These violations affect all workers in the formal and informal economy and across all economic sectors.

The project's response

Signature of the letter of intent between the Ministry of Labour and USDOL
In response to these challenges, the project funded by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) aims to provide technical support to the Government and social partners to support progress on Labour Standards.

Given that labour inspection is a factor of social progress as it allows the implementation of protective standards for workers and thus leads to decent work on the one hand, and taking into account the fact that labour inspection contributes to improving the productivity of enterprises on the other hand, the project aims to strengthen, the capacities of labour inspection. Inspectors will be trained so that they are fully capable of carrying out their missions. A peer-recognized "Task Force" will be the beneficiary of preliminary training sessions. The members of the Task Force will then disseminate the knowledge acquired to all labour inspectors using the training tools made available to them.

The project will make use of a strategic approach to compliance developed by the ILO in order to develop an enabling environment for workers' rights by relying on each stakeholder as an essential actor in the promotion of workplace compliance. An independent digital tool will be developed by the project for monitoring, data collection and evaluation to facilitate the monitoring of inspection activities, carry out the annual reports and provide, in the long term, information on enterprises, the labour force, respect of fundamental rights, including freedom of association and is expected to lead to the formalization of workplaces. The enforcement power of the labour inspectorate will be strengthened, judges will be trained on labour law, acceptable conditions of work and the fight against discrimination. The development of more direct and effective sanctions will be supported.

The project's response would be incomplete without an effective social dialogue. Therefore, the project will support the strengthening of continuous tripartite and bipartite social dialogue at all levels and in all its forms. The institutional and individual capacities of tripartite constituents will be strengthened to acquire new knowledge and skills for the deployment of social dialogue on a national scale.

Project beneficiaries

The project beneficiaries include the following groups: A select group of government officials, in particular labor inspectors and monitors; Labor judges as well as all employers' organizations and workers' organizations.

Funding is provided by the United States Department of Labor under cooperative agreement number  IL-35632-75-K. 100% of the total costs of the project or program is financed with federal funds, for a total of 3 million dollars. This material does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the United States Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the United States Government.