Following the multiplication of strike movements in Mali for some time now, there has been a constant fear of its impact on the transition process. Indeed, the issue resurfaced during last week’s program « Le débat du dimanche ». Lawyer Cheick Oumar Konaré and journalists Alexis Kalembiri, Serge Daniel and Mohammed Ag Assori were on the set.
After the strike by the Gabriel Touré hospital union, civil administrators, the union section of the education sector financiers, prison guards and the higher education trade union center in turn will join the UNTM strike notice on the government table. This multiplication of strikes is likely to have a serious impact on the success of the transition whose sole mission was to secure the country and organize transparent and credible elections in Mali.
In the face of this increasingly worrisome situation, especially in the context of a very tense socio-political crisis in Mali, some people are calling these strikes an attempt to hold the transition hostage.
Mohamed Ag Assori, a young political analyst, believes that this is not a hypothesis to be excluded, but reminds us that this is not a crisis of today. « Each year sees a return of the unions on the political scene to demand the improvement of their working conditions, » he suggested.
What saddens him is that every year the regime in place, instead of solving the problem definitively, just tries to calm it down.
According to the international civil servant, the solutions brought by the authorities have never been of a global vision to satisfy all the professional corporations: « Every time we solve a problem, there is another problem in another sector ».
According to this former journalist, the second problem in this situation is the political character of the strike movements. « They have been able to turn the unions into politicized organizations in order to use them for political purposes, » said Assori, adding that « it is perhaps a strategy for some to be approached by the new authorities.
For Alexis Kalembiri, « this crisis is a good opportunity for the transitional authorities to clearly state that these different demands are not tenable by the state » because according to him, the total amount of demands is more than 1000 billion CFA francs. A sum that Mali cannot afford given the many difficulties.
Kalembiri also evoked the absence of a general status for the civil service: « no one is yet in the general status of the civil service. All the corporations have managed to leave the general status of the civil service to have their special status » he deplored.
For him, what the transition must negotiate is a moratorium to harmonize salaries in Mali. « That everyone agrees that everything should be reviewed, that we go to a general status, and that the demands should be taken up there, negotiate and submit for the power that will be there, » he said.
For Cheick Oumar Konaré, the transition, at this pace, is very badly underway. Because according to him, the authorities have deliberately cut themselves off from all the political forces that accompanied them, not only the opposition but also the former regime », said the lawyer.
To solve this problem, the lawyer proposed a basis to regularize all the salaries of the civil service « the same diploma, the same salary » he said.
For his part, Serge Daniel believes that this is not an attempt to take the transition hostage.
According to him, the unions are totally within their rights to demand an improvement in working conditions.
Of his investigations, those that frustrate the trade unionists the most is the fact that Mali is living an exceptional circumstance while the management of power gives the impression of a cake-sharing « a dairy cow » he said. This is why, he said, trade unionists believe that the resolution of their demands is now or never.
So for a way out of the crisis, it is necessary to involve politicians in the management of the transition, Serge Daniel recommends.
For his part, the general secretary of the UNTM, Yacouba Katilé, suggested that it is a question of social justice their struggle: « Why wait at the same time we are serving others on the gold platters? « He asked himself the question before adding that « if we must give, give to everyone and at the same time ».