« We can not even make tea, » says a resident of Mamelles, a residential area of Dakar where a strike by agents of the Senegalese waters (SDE) disrupts water distribution for several days, three weeks of its replacement by the French Suez.
« Not even a drop to wash us in the morning, » adds Paul Birane Diop spitefully, shaking an empty tin, while in the street, a neighbor comes back from the store with two bottles of mineral water, lack of running water available since Monday.
An official of SDE confirms this: the absence of some workers, on strike, has the consequence that « several districts of Dakar are without water ».
« Workstations require a permanent human presence, but with the strike, certain tasks related to production, water distribution and maintenance of the facilities are no longer ensured, » he said Friday. AFP.
The government of President Macky Sall has virulently criticized the movement, denouncing « acts of sabotage operated through including the occupation of sites, the closure of valves, the shutdown of water treatment facilities, acts intended to disrupt the normal distribution of water and take the people hostage, « according to a statement released Wednesday.
Capital allocation, the big problem
This mood swings as the sector prepares for a major change on December 31st.
Assured since 1996 by the SDE (whose majority shareholder is the French-African group Eranove, alongside Senegalese shareholders up to 42.2%), water distribution will pass to the new group Water Senegal, dominated by French Suez with 45% of the shares, which promised to take over all staff.
It is precisely with regard to the distribution of the capital of this new society that the SDE workers went on strike on December 2nd. While it was expected that they hold 5% of the shares (25% are held by Senegalese investors and 25% by the State), the 1,200 employees claim a share of 10%, according to the secretary-general of the Autonomous Union Senegalese Water Workers (SAT-SDE), Elimane Diouf.
The government says it has already made a major concession by agreeing to increase the shares of SDE employees from 5 to 7% stake in Eau Senegal. But he « regrets » that the staff of the SDE is greedy claiming 10% of capital, excluding the agents of two other companies active in the water sector, which he said he is willing to grant 3% of by reducing its own shareholding to 20% of the capital.