the country’s largest union demands a strike in the midst of the political crisis

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In Mali, the social and political reality is regaining its rights after three days of national mourning, but also of national community around the figure of the late President Amadou Toumani Touré. UNTM, the first union group in the country, began a three-day strike on Wednesday 18 November. A call to stop work affecting all sectors.

This request for a 72-hour strike does not come at the best time for the transitional authorities. The requirements of the National Union of Workers of Mali are mainly wage demands or at least linked to the incomes of Malian workers. Yacouba Katilé, the President of the United Nations, cites three main demands: the first case of those known as “compressed workers”. Former employees of state-owned enterprises were nationalized from the 1980s. They were transferred to the private sector or accepted early retirement under conditions that were not always respected, and their struggle has been going on for decades. .

UNTM then asks for harmonization of the index networks for salaried employees, which serves as a basis for calculating salaries. Finally, she calls for a harmonization of the bonuses and grants granted to certain categories of officials, with very large differences today.

The aim of UNTM is to abolish the difference (…) It is a matter of social justice

Yacouba Katilé, President of the National Union of Workers of Mali

Debate on the future Transitional National Council

The idea is therefore to ensure that everyone is housed in the same boat, the union leader fights for “social justice”. He explains that the transitional authorities only agreed to dialogue three days before the start of the strike, long after the message was submitted, and that these first exchanges ended in disqualification.

This movement is in the midst of the first real “crisis of legitimacy” for the transitional authorities: the installation of the future Transitional National Council, which has been the subject of debate since last week. Many political parties and civil society organizations have not applied for the transitional legislature, which must therefore represent all the “living forces in Mali”. They accuse the military of wanting to arrest it, of giving itself to many representatives. The way is also condemned: too fast, without consultation.

In addition to these political difficulties, the transitional authorities did not need a social conflict such as the one just triggered by UNTM, which also did not submit an application for a transitional board. Its chairman specifies that UNTM in principle does not refuse to sit within the CNT but denies the method and the insufficient number of representatives attributed to the unions.

On the question from RFI about this strike, the Malian transitional government has not yet followed up.

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