In accordance with Decree N°2022-528 on the organisation of the hiring and management of dock workers in ports and port logistics platforms in the Republic of Benin, the Bureau d’Embauche Unique was set up on 1 February 2023.

Why the creation of the Bureau d’Embauche Unique (BEU)?

The poor living and working conditions have often been decried by dockers, labourers and workers working in the Port of Cotonou. The Beninese government has therefore responded to their legitimate complaints by initiating this reform whose objective is clearly to improve their situation.

To this end, the Head of State has decided to create the Bureau d’Embauche Unique.

What is the Bureau d’Embauche Unique? 

The Bureau d’Embauche Unique is an Economic Interest Grouping (EIG) that is not intended to make a profit. Its main mission is to hire, manage and make available to the user structures, the docker workforce in the seaports and dry ports of the Republic of Benin.

Who runs the Bureau d’Embauche Unique?

The Bureau d’Embauche Unique is an Economic Interest Grouping (EIG) composed of port handling companies approved in the Republic of Benin, namely: SOBEMAP, BENIN TERMINAL, RORO TERMINAL, COMAN SA and ATRAL. A General Administrator and a Deputy were appointed for a management mandate of 2 years.

What changes with the Bureau d’Embauche Unique?

The Port Authority of Cotonou having started the modernization of the port infrastructures, the Bureau d’Embauche Unique comes to accompany this dynamics by solving the problems of safety, security and management of the labour force on the port platform.

The BEU will ensure that dockworkers have motivating working conditions and benefits that comply with the labour laws in force in Benin.

From now on, the BEU is the only interface between handling companies, consignees, customs agents, freight forwarders, dockers and other actors in the dock labour chain. All dockers wishing to work on the port platform will first have to be registered with the BEU.

To ensure the implementation of this new reform, which actively participates in guaranteeing the competitiveness and development of the Port of Cotonou, the cooperation of all actors is expected.

The Port Authority of Cotonou, as a port authority, has volunteered to act as a mediator in order to promote a consensus that will guarantee a suitable working environment for the dockers’ profession, while safeguarding the national socio-economic interests.

What benefits will dockworkers enjoy in the future?

The BEU offers many advantages that contribute to improving the living and working conditions of dockworkers.

In addition to the numerous social benefits (social security, health coverage, health insurance, etc.) and salary benefits, dockworkers will be able to benefit from access to bank credit, adapted training that guarantees their safety, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

What are the next steps after the implementation of the BEU, effective since 1 February 2023?

In just one month, from 2 to 31 January 2023, more than 7,000 dockworkers have been registered with the BEU. They were recruited on the basis of the existing workforce and those already enrolled with the other handling companies of the port platform.

To this end, the establishment of the BEU will include a first stage of reorganisation and sorting before it is fully operational. As a result, administrative disruptions may occur. A dialogue commission between the stevedores and the dockers has been created to accompany this first phase of adaptation.