Niger Workers to Begin Mass Strike For Better Pay

The Niger Workers Democratic Convention says all is set for their scheduled mass strike Thursday to demand better working conditions. The workers claim the government has refused to abide by a recently signed agreement that promised better pay.

A court, however, ruled in favor of the workers Wednesday after the government tried to prevent the protest. 

The workers are demanding a 50 percent pay increase and the reinstatement of their dismissed colleagues.

Moustapha Aboubacr is a leading organizer of the striking workers. He told VOA that they will not relent until the government lives up to its part of the agreement.

"We demand the government and the president of the republic of the agreement we signed with his government.  They have dismissed some of our comrades in certain areas of work like the mine. We demand the government to allow the media of government to cover all of our activities…and the general augmentation of about 50 percent of our salaries," Aboubacr said.

He hailed the court's ruling which paved the way for the strike.

"The government has taken us to the court, but I'm glad to tell you that we won the process. So the government has to take note of what has been done by our justice. So legally, we are observing the strike today," he said.

Aboubacr said the government has yet to hold discussions with them about their demands.

"We are waiting on the government to call on us anytime to discuss all these points," Aboubacr said.

He reiterated that the workers will continue the strike until their demands are met.

"We do hope that the government will take it seriously and call on us to discuss all these points. If not, we are determined to go further until the problem is solved," said Aboubacr.

Meanwhile, other trade unions have reportedly expressed support for the striking workers, urging their members to join Thursday's stoppage.                                

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