Search

 

Cablegate: Government Workers Strike Over Cost of Living

VZCZCXYZ0009
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBP #0696 1781028
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 271028Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAMAKO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 7655

UNCLAS BAMAKO 000696

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB PREL PGOV ECON ML
SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT WORKERS STRIKE OVER COST OF LIVING

1. Government and some private sector workers went on strike
June 26 to protest the failure to address cost of living and
pay issues agreed to during collective bargaining
negotiations in 2006. The UNTM (National Union of Malian
Workers) called for the two day "warning strike" after
discussions with the Government and private sector managers
left the UNTM leadership convinced the Government was
unwilling to live up to its previous commitments. The
unions have sought clarification of the grade structure
within the civil service (with consequent promotions and pay
raises for many), a careful look at some planned
privatization, and greater price controls on consumer staples
to help control the cost of living.

2. The strike has created very little disruption, with the
exception of airport services. The Airport staffing remains
at "essential personnel only;" the airport director said that
critical flights should still be able to land as scheduled.
Numerous flights have been canceled, with the exception of
the Air France flight, which was reportedly delayed four
hours. Security forces remain on duty and automobile and
motorbike traffic is lighter than usual. All services are
expected to return to normal when the strike ends at midnight
June 27.

3. The UNTM put forth twenty demands and followed up on May
24 with a threat to strike if its demands remained unmet on
the 26th of June (in keeping with Malian law, which requires
several weeks of advanced notification for labor action).
Key elements among the UNTM demands are:

--Various payments for current and former employees, such as
pay raises, payment of salary arrears, termination pay to
those fired through privatization, equalizing the different
rates of pay that currently exist within ministries,
increases in family and other allowances, etc.

--Reduction in taxes on payroll salaries, and lowering
consumer costs for water, electricity, pharmaceuticals,
telephone service, and fuel.

--Price controls for basic food items.

--Greater legal protection for union members and activities

--Accelerated privatization of SOTELMA, the state-owned
telecommunications company.

--A review of the privatization of CMDT, the state-owned
cotton company.

4. UNTM demands for greater legal protections grow out of
allegations that management at some companies, such as
Transrail (privatized in 2004), have physically threatened,
or even fired, workers who engaged in union activities.

5. COMMENT. Strikes are a normal part of Malian life, but
the distinction drawn by the UNTM between SOTELMA and CMDT is
notable. SOTELMA will likely remain intact, minus a
significant reduction in force; the UNTM evidently wants to
move the case forward so workers will no longer be in doubt
about their future. Many fear that the privatization of the
cotton parastatal, CMDT, however, will allow foreign buyers
to scoop up its profitable components, leaving the very
unprofitable but badly needed elements of CMDT, those that
provide direct assistance to cotton farmers, left to wither
on the vine.
Leonard

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Covid: 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief To Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach And Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

by Jake Johnson, staff writer An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary ... More>>

Samoa’s Stunning Election Result: On The Verge Of A New Ruling Party For The First Time In 40 Years

Tamasailau Suaalii Sauni , University of Auckland and Patricia A. O'Brien , Georgetown University Samoan politics is on a knife edge. After the country voted in general elections on April 9, counting so far has resulted in a dead heat between the two ... More>>

Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Awake At Night: S3-Episode 21: There Is Hope

Brazzaville visit to CSI Pilote du Diabete with Health workers at a local government clinic. 2018 - Photo: ©CSI/Dr. Soumya Swaminathan 'When it comes to a pandemic, it really needs global collaboration and solidarity because the pathogens and viruses More>>

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>

How Can We Vaccinate The World? Five Challenges Facing The UN-Backed COVAX Programme

The aim of the UN-backed COVAX scheme is to get two billion vaccine doses into the arms of around a quarter of the population of poorer countries by the end of 2021. What are the main challenges that need to be overcome, if this historic global effort ... More>>