/** labr.global: 418.0 **/
** Topic: Niger Refuses To Negotiate With National Unions **
** Written 11:40 PM Jul 4, 1997 by labornews in cdp:labr.global **
From: Institute for Global Communications <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Niger Refuses To Negotiate With National Unions
Brussels, July 3 1997 (ICFTU OnLine): Despite another three day strike, from Tuesday (July 1), by the national workers' union of Niger, USTN, the Niger government remains deaf to appeals for negotiation from the national trade union centre, which represents over 70,000 workers.
The USTN's list of demands, submitted in February to the Civil Service, Labour and Employment Minister, concerns the budgetary measures that have hit hard at the country's workers: reduction in the wage bill, privatisation, and other budget cuts.
According to the USTN, the country's 44,000 civil servants have not been paid for 5 months, amounting to more than 20 billion CFA francs in arrears (200 million French francs).
Apart from the teachers, on annual leave, Niger's workers are keeping to the strike, even if, says Mamadou Saidou, assistant education secretary for the USTN, "lassitude is beginning to make itself felt". Contacted today by telephone, Mr. Saidou announced that a meeting of the USTN's Central Committee, to be attended by members of its Executive Board and the leaders of the sectoral federations, will be held on Monday July 7 to evaluate the situation and foresee further action.
Mr. Saidou has confirmed that the 22 trade unionists from Niger's electricity company (NIGELEC) imprisoned four months ago for taking strike action were all released at the end of June.
On April 10, four of them were give prison sentences for "sabotage" by the courts, which acquitted the other 18, who had been held in prison at the request of the public prosecutor. The four who had been sentenced then had their case dismissed by the appeal court. Today, says Mr. Saidou, all the trade unionists have been reinstated, with the exception of Abdou Bague and Arma Yaou, both workers at NIGELEC.
Finally, the USTN's action is also aimed at the adoption of a new labour code, pointing out that despite reaching agreement with the trade unions on the text, the government decided unilaterally to adopt legislation in contradiction with the freedom of association.
For details contact USTN Niger at: ++227 73 52 56 (Phone/fax) or ICFTU Press at ++322 224 02 12. Other OnLine news on Poptel Bulletin Board ICFTU-Online for geonet users and on the WWW at:http://www.icftu.org