Unions in Three-day Strike
Panafrican News Agency (Dakar), 23 March 2001
Moroni, Comoros - The labour crisis is worsening in Comoros, where the umbrella union USATC announced on Thursday a three-day strike to pressure authorities to hold dialogue on various social issues.
The unionists want to discuss health insurance and old age pensions, lay-offs, pay increment and salary arrears over owed workers in recent years.
Workers at the ministry of finance and budget just ended a one-week strike, and the governor of the Great Comoro island last week banned a protest against the country's water and electricity company, while teachers on Anjouan island have been on strike for several days.
In a letter to the authorities, USATC coordinator Ibouroi Ali Toibibou described as unacceptable the government's offer to pay just two months of salary arrears for last year, whereas salaries have been owed since 1995.
He told PANA on Wednesday that the work stoppage decided on Thursday will affect all the key sectors of the civil service, as well as ports, notably dock workers and other day labourers highly interested in the demand for a decent minimum wage.
Reacting to the USATC decision, government spokesman Mohamed Abdou Soimadou noted on Wednesday evening that USATC has no legal existence.
He blamed the union members for failure to negotiate when government extended them an invitation in January.
He charged that "the unions' demands are only a pretext to cause social trouble".
Copyright 2001 Panafrican News Agency. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).