Somalia’s labour movement scored an unprecedented legal victory against Turkish multinational company, Favori LLC when a court in Mogadishu ordered compensation for time lost and reinstatement of a worker whose employment had been unfairly terminated.

In a ruling decision arrived at on December14, 2020 but released to the parties on February 20, 2021, the Banadir Regional Court found that Favori LCC’s termination of Abshir Hassan Abdulle’s employment as a porter at Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle Airport, violated the provisions of Somali labour law and the employment contract between him and the company.

“The Court decides that the dismissal of Abshir Hassan Abdulle is illegal, and orders that he be reinstated and that all arrears from October be paid to him,” part of the judgement reads.

The court dismissed all pleadings by the Favori lawyers, reaffirming the complaints brought against Favori by Abshir Hassan Abdulle.

Represented by attorneys Zakariye Ismail and Mohamed Abdullahi Khalil, who were hired by the Federation of Somali Trade Unions FESTU, Abshir Hassan Abdulle took Favori LCC to court on 14 November 2020.

“This is an important achievement by the working class in Somalia. We applaud the court’s decision as it sends a clear signal to Favori and other multinationals operating in Somalia that they have a non-negotiable duty to respect the laws of Somalia and respect the rights of workers. Impunity shall not be tolerated, and Favori must desist from depriving Somali workers of their human and labour rights including the right to union representation and collective bargaining,” FESTU General Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman said immediately after the court decision was announced.

“Exploitation and abuse of workers by Favori including bodily harm had reached unprecedented levels. It is unfortunate that the abuser enjoyed the protection of offices entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the public interest. We shall take this fight to the highest level if we sense any attempt to have this ruling reversed,” he said.

The court’s decision comes just a week after FESTU released a damning report, documenting the systematic abuse of workers’ rights by Favori.

The report found that Favori’s labour practices were in gross violation of not only Somali labour law but international labour conventions and practices as well.

Among others, workers were exposed to poor occupational safety and health, faced unfair treatment by the company and were vulnerable to abuse as they were denied all the basic protections under the law because of the firm’s collusion with powerful political figures in Somalia.

Favori employees could not organize under a labour union and were penalized for any attempts to assert their rights as the right to freedom of association, the right to organise and the right to collective bargaining. They were also cheated of their wages and work under an atmosphere of fear.

Workers were also subjected to inhumane treatment with those that suffer injuries at the workplace neither given medical support or compensation. The report features disturbing images of workers who were abandoned after suffering injuries to their limbs.