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Guinea Unions Threaten Year-Long Strike Over Political Crisis

Guinea's military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara (Oct 2009 file photo)

Guinea's military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara (Oct 2009 file photo)

Labor leaders in Guinea are threatening to stage a year-long strike if the military government does not resolve the country's political crisis. There is still no official word on the health of Guinea's military leader, more than one month after he was shot in the head.

The National Confederation of Guinean Workers says the army is not being truthful with the Guinean people about the health of military ruler Captain Moussa Dadis Camara.

Captain Camara has been in a Moroccan military hospital since he was shot in the head by the former chief of the presidential guard over one month ago.

Acting ruler General Sekouba Konate has returned to Guinea after meeting with Captain Camara in Morocco. During that visit, Konate met with U.S. and French diplomats to discuss the country's political crisis and its impact on regional stability since Guinea's military took power in a coup one year ago.

The United States and France both support a civilian-led transitional government to organize free elections and both say that is more likely if Captain Camara does not return to Guinea.

Trade unions say the country's future can not be held hostage to the health of one man. National Confederation Secretary General Hadja Rabiatou Sérah Diallo says Guinea's ruling military council and state-run television have mislead the nation with inconsistent statements about Captain Camara's health and possible return.

Diallo says Guinea's civil society movement will organize a so-called dead country or dead city or will go on strike for one whole year if the military government does not truthfully disclose Captain Camara's condition and move forward to resolve the political crisis.

Diallo says any action will take into consideration that most Guineans are already living day-to-day, and the labor movement does not want poor people to suffer more. She says any protest will be peaceful to avoid the destruction of property or killing of demonstrators.

The secretary-general of Guinea's Workers' Trade Union, Ibrahima Fofana, says everything depends on the ruling military council responding concretely to opposition demands within the ongoing regional mediation.

Guinea's main teachers' unions already say they are planning to strike next week. Fofana says other trade unions will join that strike if they are not satisfied with the military's response.