Chad: violence against unions escalates

The ITUC has denounced the recent escalation in antiunion repression in Chad (...)

Brussels, 6 June 2007: The ITUC has denounced the recent escalation in antiunion repression in Chad, where a public sector strike launched a month ago by the Inter-Union Group continues. Unionists have been under pressure since the beginning of the strike, but the situation has worsened in recent days as security officers deploy more violent tactics. On Tuesday morning, the Labour Exchange was stormed by security forces, who barricaded its entrance. The situation there has now been normalised but the head office of the Chadian Teachers’ Union, affiliated to the Inter-Union Group, is still being occupied by police officers, who are blocking workers’ access to the building. Measures were also taken to stop the General Secretary of the UST trade union centre, Mr Djibrine Assali, from taking part in the ILO International Labour Conference. His passport was confiscated on 27 May as he was preparing to fly to Geneva.

On 7 May and 5 June, the ITUC called on the President of the Republic of Chad to take urgent measures in response to the demands of the trade union organisations, yet scant progress has been made in the negotiations over the last month. The workers are demanding a review of public service wage scales, an increase in the minimum wage, a major increase in retirement pensions, and family allowances in line with the cost of living. The offer made by the government of this oil-rich nation falls far below the mark, with a wage rise limited to 15% and a negligible increase in family allowances.

The anti-union repression is not confined to N’Djamena. In Bongor, 300 km from the capital, the Nomad Guard shot at demonstrating students and workers. In Sarh and Gounou Gaya, in the south of Chad, the police also shot at demonstrators. Several people have been injured.

As trade union organisations from around the globe express their solidarity, the ITUC has reiterated its call for the Chadian government and security forces to bring an immediate end to the violence, to ensure due respect for trade union rights, and to respond to the demands of the striking workers without further delay.

Founded on 1 November 2006, the ITUC represents 168 million workers in 153 countries and territories and has 304 national affiliates.

For more information, please contact the ITUC Press Department on +32 2 224 0204 or +32 476 621 018.