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Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

January 16, 2023

By Karen Fulton, Tshepo Mokoana and Tarika Patel

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Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

KEY DEVELOPMENTS FOR 2023


 

Health care benefits

The working conditions of workers in subcontracting companies are often dire. The workers receive limited or no health care benefits and often work excessive hours.

In a recent ruling (21 October 2021), a Congolese court (Kolwezi court) ordered a subcontracting company (Panda International Congo Engineering) to pay the full amount of unpaid health costs and wages to its employee, a mechanic injured in the Kisanfu mine owned by the principal mining company (China Molybdenum).

The decision sets an important precedent for workers' rights in the DRC, allowing subcontracted workers who are injured in the workplace to claim full payment of their health care benefits without fear of dismissal by the employer.


 

Subcontracting/employment contract

Due to the significant number of private companies using the services of subcontracting companies’ employees on a full-time or part-time basis without an employment contract, the Minister of Labour (in a ministerial circular made public on 26 August 2021) prohibited subcontracting companies from continuing to manage the staff/employees they have recruited and placed in these “user” companies.

The Minister of Labour urged these “user” companies to proceed immediately to sign employment contracts with the employees (of the subcontracting companies) they use.

This ministerial circular has set more stability for the work force employed by subcontracting companies and regularly placed in “user” companies.


 

Child labour in the mining sector

With the significant increase in mining production, particularly of cobalt and copper, there is a greater focus by local authorities on working conditions in the mines, particularly the child labour.

One reason for this increased attention is the demands of consumer countries, particularly in the West, to be supplied with legally produced ores and in compliance with traceability rules, the ban on child labour and all ESG standards.

In that regard, the Minister of Mines recently issued a ministerial circular (Ministerial Circular N0. 0007/CAB.MIN/MINES/01/2017) with the aim of reminding and underlying the relevant provisions of the Constitution, the Mining Code and the Labour Code of the DRC, as well as the relevant provisions of the international standards and regulations formally prohibiting child labour in all economic sectors, including the artisanal mining sector.

With thanks to Karen Fulton, Tshepo Mokoana and Tarika Patel of Bowmans for their invaluable collaboration on this update.

For More Information

Image: Suzanne Horne
Suzanne Horne
Partner, Employment Law Department
Image: Kirsty Devine
Kirsty Devine
Associate, Employment Law Department
Image: Aashna Parekh
Aashna Parekh
Associate, Employment Law Department

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