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Algerians begin 3-day strike in protest of finance bill

Image of violent protests in Algeria on March 2011 [Magharebia/Wikipedia]
Image of violent protests in Algeria on March 2011 [Magharebia/Wikipedia]

Algerians began a three-day strike yesterday to protest against austerity plans as a result of the drop in global oil prices.

Teachers, health workers and local civil servants are amongst 12 striking unions who took part in the civic action.

The government plans to raise taxes, freeze salaries and increase the minimum retirement age to 60.

Some schools were forced to close yesterday due to a lack of teachers. According to the Head of the National Parents Association, Djamila Khiar, teachers “do not have the right to use students” to press demands.

Protesters planned a sit-in tomorrow at Algeria’s parliament who will be voting on the bill on the weekend.

However not all unions are in support of the three-day strike. The administration and economic sectors represented by an independent union have not voiced their support of the strikers.

The National Union of Veterinary Public Service withdrew from the protest because of a warning of bird flu which forced their members to mobilise to ensure meat consumption control.

Independent unions also rallied in front of parliament to protest their exclusion from the debate on the 2017 Finance Law, which has been described as a “misery on Algerian households”. The protesters also expressed their concerns about the precariousness of employment, working conditions and the elimination of an early retirement.

Trade unionists have improvised a sit-in in front of the central union to denounce “the manufacture of austerity measures without the association of the genuine representatives of workers,” according to several trade unionists.

Another series of three-day walkouts are scheduled for 27 November.

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