Photographer: Xaume Olleros/Bloomberg

Police Deploys as Chad Public Workers Hold Strike Over Wages

  • Labor unions protest what they say are unexpected wage cuts
  • Strike undermines government efforts: government spokeswoman

Police deployed in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, as public-sector workers began a strike to protest salary cuts the government implemented this year as part of austerity measures.

The decision follows a general strike that lasted almost two months earlier this year as the cash-strapped government seeks to reduce its wage bill under pressure from the International Monetary Fund. Several ministries remained closed on Monday, as well as schools and hospitals, following the breakdown of talks between the government and labor unions that weren’t attended by President Idriss Deby, according to Barka Michel, the head of the main labor union, the Union des Syndicats du Tchad.

Unions say the government has cut wages in May despite promises to pay them in full. The strike “is the responsibility of the government, which didn’t respect an accord with the unions,” Blaise Ngartoide, spokesman of a teachers’ union, told private radio FM Liberte on Monday.

Authorities urged civil servants to go to work, saying the government had paid most salaries and was still negotiating with the unions to find a solution. “The strike shouldn’t happen,” government spokesman Madeleine Alingue said on state radio. “We’re asking workers to go about their daily business as this strike will undermine the efforts we’ve made so far to deal with the wages situation.”

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