I am Mehari Redae, an assistant professor in law, from Ethiopia. I got an my LL.B degree (distinction) from the Addis Ababa university in Ethiopa. I did my LL.M in the university of Michigan (USA). Currently, I am working for my PhD at the university of Warwick on the following topic :
"Privatisation in Ethiopia: the challenge it poses to Unionisation and Collective Bargaining" under the intellectual supervision and guidance of : Professor Alan C. NEAL
Abstract of the thesis:
Privatisation has become an important policy instrument since the early 1980s in many countries. Indeed, the programme has been put into effect in more noticeable manner in terms of pace and scale in transition economies and developing countries owing to, at times, external prescription from multilateral lending and donor institutions to privatise State-owned enterprises as much and as soon as possible. As a result, States are ‘rolling back’ from the economy-thereby paving the way for private sector development.
The existing literature documented that in many developing countries, parallel with the economic liberalisation in general and privatisation in particular, legal reforms, among others, in the labour field have been undertaken. Labour market flexibility has been introduced and/ot the enforcement of the protective labour laws has been deliberately ignored. Consequently, legislative and/or executive organs have been the main actors in such an endeavour. The objective was mainly to create favourable condition to business and in order to attract and retain investment.
In a similar fashion, Ethiopia has embarked on privatising State-owned enterprises since 1995 and with the introduction of the privatisation programme in Ethiopia, like in many other countries, legal and institutional reforms together with policies, activities and attitudes suitable for investment and business have been put in place. However, the legal reform which has been undertaken in the area of labour law appears to be minimal. In a sense, although the command economy was liberalised since the overthrow of the military government, the apparently protective labour laws which were operative during the military rule remained substantially intact.
This thesis, however, found that what was not desired to be achieved through legislative reform, presumably for fear of political disapproval from organised labour during periodical elections, has been given effect through business-friendly judicial interpretation by the Federal Supreme Court Cassation Bench of the country. Given the fact that the interpretation of the Cassation Bench has been legally binding on regular courts and labour tribunals all over the country, its interpretations has almost an equivalent effect to legislative amendment. The legislature issued no legislation aimed at altering that judicial view-thereby implicitly endorsing the judicial rulings. Thus the Ethiopian experience shows that erosion of protective labour laws may also be undertaken through the medium of the judiciary other than the legislature and the executive. It seems acting through the judiciary appears politically expedient than legislative action for the former is less sensitive to public pressures since it is not an elected organ.
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