World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Guinea - ITUC calls for vigilance

INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION (ITUC)

ITUC Online
020/280107

Guinea - ITUC calls for vigilance and sends international trade union mission

Brussels, 30 January 2007 (ICFTU Online): The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) welcomed this Sunday evening's agreement between the government and the trade unions of Guinea, enabling the calling off of the general strike that started on 10 January. The ITUC is now advising vigilance with respect to the application of the agreement and has confirmed that it will be sending a high-level international trade union mission to Guinea this week. The first members of the mission, which will last until 2 February, will be arriving this evening in Conakry.

In addition to the agreement in principle, reached on Friday, that a Prime Minister and Head of Government would be nominated - an essential demand of the unions - the agreement signed last night includes several economic and social components. These include a reduction in the prices of rice and fuel, a one-year block on exporting of essential products, an increase in retirement pensions and an enhancement of teachers' terms and conditions. An agreement was also reached on "strict respect of the principle of separation of powers", the independence of the central bank (BCRG) and the continuation of legal action "against all predators" who had damaged the "national economy". The last clause specifically names the "boss of bosses", Mamadou Sylla, and Fodé Soumah, the ex-minister and Deputy Governor of the BCRG, whose release from prison by President Lansana Conté himself in December 2006 had inflamed the situation.

The agreement also calls for the release of all people still held following the general strike and demonstrations. According to trade union sources, 13 people were still being held yesterday evening in Conakry and many others could still be imprisoned outside the capital. The document signed yesterday by the government, the social partners and the president of the Parliament, acting as mediator, also forbids any repression against the strikers and provides for the establishment of a committee of enquiry to "seek out and punish the perpetrators of exactions".

Whilst recommending vigilance as to the application of this agreement, Guy Ryder, the ITUC General Secretary, welcomed a process that he termed "a historic success for the Guinean unions, and a genuine, unprecedented victory for the whole of the African and global trade union movement". "The agreement that was reached must be rigorously implemented and respected, given the awful price paid by the workers of Guinea in obtaining it", added Ryder. Based on the constantly rising figures, the repression of the general strike and the associated demonstrations resulted in 59 deaths, including 49 on Monday 22 January alone, together with numerous injuries.

Evaluating that repression, its consequences and the resulting needs for assistance will be one of the main tasks of the high-level trade union mission that will be staying in Conakry from 30th January to 1st February. It will be headed by the ITUC General Secretary, will include the top trade union leaders from the African region, and will receive high-level technical support from the International Labour Office (the executive arm of the ILO, the specialised UN body based in Geneva). (Please see the full list of members of the mission below).

In addition to meeting the highest-ranked ministers, the leaders of the country's social, economic and human rights institutions and the religious leaders who were involved in resolving the crisis, the mission's objectives include expressing solidarity with and lending political support to the Guinean unions affiliated to the ITUC.

In recent days international trade union solidarity with Guinea has been demonstrated in many countries. ITUC affiliated organisations from Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, the Netherlands and France, amongst others, sent messages of support. During the meeting of the Council of Ministers of the African Union (AU), in Addis-Ababa on Friday 26 January, a top official of the ITUC handed a copy of the African trade union statement on Guinea to Alpha Conaré, President of the AU Commission and to Ambassador Said Djinnit, the Ambassador of the AU Commission on Peace and Security - that declaration had been signed in Nairobi on Tuesday 23 January at the World Social Forum (see ITUC press release of 23/01/2007 http://www.ituc-csi.org/spip.php?article613).

In Geneva, the day before, Juan Somavia, Director-General of the ILO, had sent the President of Guinea Lansana Conté an extremely strongly-worded letter expressing his "grave concern" at the "exceptionally serious" events of 22 January. And on the same day, the ITUC in Brussels had contacted the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the European Union (EU), asking them to prepare to impose severe measures on Guinea should the negotiations that had started between the unions and the government prove fruitless. In a letter to the EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Guy Ryder asked Mr Louis Michel to consider, should the negotiations fail, suspending aid to Guinea, freezing individuals' assets in the EU, and denying a visa to President Conté and his partners or cronies in the private sector and to the top officials in his government. The EU had decided last December, in the face of what it regarded as notable progress on democratisation and reforms, to restore its aid to the country, which had been suspended since 2004. According to specialists on Guinea, the EU was also preparing to release 117 million euros in the next few months under the 9th European Development Fund.

In addition to Guy Ryder, General Secretary of the ITUC, the ITUC mission in Guinea will include Mody Guiro and Andrew Kailembo, the President and General Secretary, respectively, of the African Regional Organisation (AFRO), Adrien Akouété, the General Secretary of the "Organisation démocratique syndicale des Travailleurs africains" (ODSTA) and Laurent Ouedrago, ODSA Vice-President. It will be supported by Johanna Walgrave, acting Executive Director (Social Dialogue) at the ILO and by Ibrahim Zakari, specialist in Workers' Activities at the ILO (Geneva), together with Janek Kuczkiewicz, Director of Human and Trade Union Rights at the ITUC and Oumar Dicko (AFRO).

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gaza: Worst And Bloodiest Day Since The Beginning Of The Offensive

• Mass Killings in al-Shuja'iya Neighborhood in Gaza and Dozens of Dismembered Bodies Are in the Streets; More>>

ALSO:

Russia: Lack Of Access At Crash Site Of MH17

We are deeply concerned by the Russia-backed separatists’ refusal to allow OSCE monitors safe and unfettered access to the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Yesterday, the monitors were allowed only 75 minutes at the site. Today, they ... More>>

ALSO:

Syria: Palestinians In Refugee Camp 'will Likely Go Hungry'

Unable for more than a month now to deliver food and other supplies to Palestinians trapped in a refugee camp near Damascus, the United Nations agency tasked with ensuring their well-being said today it is urgently seeking to resume its humanitarian activities, ... More>>

Al Jazeera: Egypt Verdict Defies Logic And Any Semblance Of Justice

Following today’s verdict in Cairo, Al Jazeera English managing director Al Anstey said: “Today three colleagues and friends were sentenced, and will continue behind bars for doing a brilliant job of being great journalists. More>>

Papua New Guinea: Indonesian Troops Fire On PNG Soldiers Along Border

Indonesian troops have opened fire on a PNG Defence Force border patrol, increasing further tension at the Papua New Guinea-Indonesia border. The flare-up at the border compelled the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration to summon the Indonesian ... More>>

World News: Internet Well On Way To 3 Billion Users - UN Telecom Agency

Releasing new statistics today, the United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU) announced that by end 2014, there will be nearly three billion Internet users – two-thirds of them from the developing world – with mobile-broadband ... More>>

Syria: Gunfire Impedes Food Delivery To Palestinian Refugees

Gunfire stopped distribution of food today in a besieged Palestinian refugee camp, a United Nations spokesperson confirmed today, reiterating demands that the UN agency assisting Palestinian refugees be allowed to safely and without interruption distribute ... More>>

Ukraine: Ban Welcomes Release Of Abducted Military Observers

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the release earlier today of European military monitors and accompanying Ukrainian staff abducted a week ago in the country's crisis-torn eastern region, even as he expressed sadness at the loss of life... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news