Trade unions

The union with the biggest number of members is the Union Burundaise des Journalistes (Burundian Union of Journalists - UBJ), which is a member of the Eastern African Journalists Association (EAJA) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). UBJ has lost vitality due to the fact that the Ministry of Internal Affairs suspended it in October 2016, as it was one of the local organisations which allegedly colluded with state security.

Meetings between journalists who fled Burundi and others who remained in the country have taken place in Kigali, Rwanda and Kampala, Uganda. The aim was to overcome the climate of mistrust towards the journalists who remained in the country, suspected of being in cahoots with the Conseil National pour la Défense de la Démocratie-Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie (National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy - CNDD–FDD). A fee is theoretically required to be part of the union, but journalists no longer do so. Moreover, due to their political obedience to power, journalists are timidly trying to organise elections so that the UBJ falls under the chairmanship of pro-government representatives.

The journalists working at the national radio and television broadcaster, can join two unions. The oldest one is the Syndicat des Travailleurs de la Radio Télévision Nationale du Burundi (Union of Workers of the National Radio and Television of Burundi – SYRT) established in 1996). After a two-month strike demanding the improvement of wage conditions, a split has given birth to the Syndicat Libre des Travailleurs de la Radio Télévision Nationale du Burundi (Free Union of Workers of the National and Television of Burundi - SY-RTNB), a second union close to power. A rapprochement between the two unions is unlikely.

As far as the private sector is concerned, workers are not organised into unions and their rights are often violated.