Chad: Civil servants will recover their wages and return to work

Public sector workers, who have been on strike for seven weeks to protest wage cuts in the name of austerity measures, reached an agreement tonight with the government.

The latter undertakes to reimburse the wages cut as retaliatory measures against the striking workers and to obtain from the banks a moratorium for the collection of the monthly payments of the officials under credit and whose wages have been revised downward.

In exchange, the workers decide to end the strike.

It is an agreement of only three pages but has been negotiated in seven days and ten hours, after seven weeks of strike.

At the end of the difficult discussions, the main points of the agreement are summarized by the Deputy Secretary General of the Free Confederation of Workers of Chad: “The payment of salary of February 2018 to all agents of the State, the application of the three-month moratoriums – February, March and April 2018 – by the banking institutions on the loans contracted by the agents of the State, the suspension of the census in progress, the suspension of the general strike in progress and the resumption of work after the actual payment of all the agents of the State.”

For the Minister of the Civil Service and Social Dialogue, Mahamat Moctar Ali, the end of the blockage of the public services enshrined in this agreement is a victory for all the Chadian people: “Dear partners, today 14 March is a great day for workers to arrive with the grace of God at this very salutary conclusion for the country and for the whole Chadian population.”

According to several observers, the two parties are doing just fine. The government has just withdrawn a thorn and unions got to be paid on days not worked with the promise of reimbursement of wages cut as part of the austerity measures.

This agreement is reason enough to return to work, according to the spokesman of the trade union platform claim Barka Michel. “The government, which has made the commitment to refuse to pay, has reversed its decision, including for those whose salary was not paid in February, since it pays the salary it had workers. Secondly, the census, which was an act that was not done in agreement with us, is suspended.

Something very important also: “you saw that there is a moratorium until April so that we do not touch workers’ wages. That means that starting in May, when wages are restored, the banks may be able to touch the monthly payments of those who are under credit. The government is committed to repaying what it has cut, not in cash or in kind, but it says so. We will see what the modalities will be.”

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