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The Trade Union Centres in Niger and the Coup

D 15 août 2023     H 12:00     A     C 0 messages

The trade unions in Niger are divided and have different reactions to the coup. One of the centres is opposed while four others support the coup.

Trade unionists in Niger, as in Nigeria, are suffering an “increasingly galloping unjustified rate of inflation leading to the high cost of living due to the unprecedented rise in the price of essential products”. But the trades unions are divided into at least a dozen centres. In the trade union elections of 2019 the largest three were :

• Confédération Démocratique des Travailleurs du Niger (CDTN) - 32%
• Confédération Nigérienne du Travail (CNT) - 30%
• Union des Syndicats des Travailleurs du Niger (USTN) - 12%

The Democratic Confederation of Workers of Niger (Confederation Democratique des Travailleurs du Niger - CDTN), the largest trade union centre, condemned the coup on 27th July :

• “CDTN expresses its indignation at this undermining of the democratic gains fought for by Nigerians in general and workers in particular.”
• “CDTN demands that the Defence and Security Forces (FDS) immediately re-establish the institutions of the Republic and withdraw unconditionally from the political scene.”

The Niger Trade Union Action Unit (UAS-Niger), made up of four smaller trade union centres :

• Alliance of Workers of Niger (Alliance des Travailleurs du Niger)
• Convergence of Workers of Niger (Convergence des Travailleurs du Niger)
• Interunion of Workers of Niger (Intersyndicale des Travailleurs du Niger)
• Collective of the Marketers of Niger (Collectif des Syndicats des Commercants du Niger).

On 2nd August they issued a press statement supporting the coup, including :

• Criticizes and vehemently condemns the anti-social sanctions taken by UEMOA against the people of Niger on the occasion of the special summit of the said organization coupled with that of ECOWAS in Nigeria.
• Finally, UAS-NIGER invites all Nigeriens in general and workers in particular to mobilize around the CNSP [name of coup leaders] and to be ready day and night and permanently in order to respond promptly to the many facets of the ’enemy.

In January 2023, four trade union centres in Niger undertook a 48-hours strike over demands made since 2012. These include the harmonization of allowances for all state employees, recruitment in education and health and raising of the minimum wage. At the same time the Government signed an agreement with the largest trade union centre (CDTN) indicating the progress made on its demands.