- Senegal is among the few African countries where citizens have been allowed to enjoy their democratic rights to protest against government policies, deteriorating working conditions and price hikes among others.
It is however apparent that the authorities are fed up with daily strikes, which take great toll on economic development.
The country’s leader, Abdoulaye Wade, is also among those who raise eyebrows on strikes. He has called on unionists to observe three years of no industrial action.
President Wade’s came after leaders of the 18 major union organisations bombarded his government with series of complaints on May Day celebrations.
Mr Wade admitted that the right to industrial strike is guaranteed by the Senegalese constitution, he however wondered why it has been abused by some unionists who turned it into national sport.
The Senegalese leader wants a new Senegal where strikes do not hinder learning, weaken companies or the economy.
“We want to have a period during which students will not arrive in empty classes, lecturers return home without teaching or employers confronted with empty machines without having anybody to operate them,” President Wade said.
Until 27 January this year – when riot police tear gassed and beat opposition supporters for demonstrating against the postponement of legislative elections for the second time -the Wade government had been tolerant to strikes by its opponents.
Strikes have almost paralysed some schools, with teachers refusing to teach, in protest against the government’s failure to meet their demands, which includes salary increase.
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