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Krieg, Gold, Gewerkschaften

François Yao (Generalsekretär der "National Union of Energy Sector Workers") berichtet darüber, warum seine Gewerkschaft aus der Föderation ausgetreten ist, und wie das Leben - und die Goldförderung - in einem vom Bürgerkrieg geprägten Land "aussieht". Seine (englische) Rede am 12. Juni 2005 auf der Genfer Konferenz "Defense of the ILO Conventions and the Independence of Trade Unions" des ILC, berichtet im ILC-Newsletter 140.

12th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE in Defense of the ILO Conventions and the Independence of Trade Unions, Geneva, June 12, 2005

Speech by François Yao, general secretary of the National Union of Energy Sector Workers (SYNASEG) of Ivory Coast

My name is François Yao. I am the general secretary of (SYNASEG) National Union of Energy Sector Workers. I would like to say a few words about the situation in my country and the position of my organization in the framework of the upcoming events.

On May 1, 2005, our union disaffiliated ourselves with the union confederation due to the violation of the principles that found confederations, namely, the promotion of individuals in relation to the affiliated organizations. We even launched an appeal to say that the SYNASEG is ready, if nothing changes, to create a new confederation to better defend the workers of Ivory Coast. I bring your attention to the fact that due to the war, a confederation currently virtually does not exist. The confederation has become an appendage of the party in power.

We have also decided to disaffiliate with the unions of the electricity sector, with whom we created a collective. The reason is that our identity was lost in relation to the end of the State/CIE contract. The French comrades know the truth about the Bouygues group which has been the dealer for the energy sector since 1990 and the water sector since 1990. These contracts expire next October.

To enable our organization to better defend the interests of the workers in relation to the renegotiation of the contract, we have decided to be alone because they have pledged their support to the employer for the renewal of the contract.

We participated in the Parliamentary hearings on the deadly evolution facing the African continent, which was organized by the Algerian Workers' Party on May 14-15, 2005. We explained that the war in Ivory Coast was not an ethnic war. We had the opportunity to say that up to the present moment, if you go to Ivory Coast you will see - from the North to the South - different ethnic groups mixing. The wife of the head of the state is from the North, and the wife of the head of the rebels is originally from the home region of the head of state. It is no longer a religious war because if you come to Abidjan, on every Friday, you cannot get around the city streets anymore because the Muslims have taken over all the streets. Nevertheless, they tell us that the Muslims are only found in the North and that the North is opposed to the South. In the North, of course there are Catholics - but to end on this specific point, it is necessary to note that there are more animists than Catholics and Muslims put together.

Nor is it a war between regions. The new configuration of regions in Ivory Coast, with the creation of revolving national holidays, has led the North to have many infrastructures and factory concessions to transform fruits into juice. Consequently, it is not possible to say that today there is a difference in treatment between regions.

All these arguments are alibis to exploit the resources of the country. In essence, with this war, in the North today the gold mines are exploited without regulation. There are also countries like Burkina Faso which today are cocoa exporters, and thus don't produce. You see how these resources are diverted from the normal path - it is a way of pillaging the country.

It must be remembered that at the side of the United Nations forces that are usually sent in to maintain peace, there are the forces of the COM, which have over 4,000 troops in Ivory Coast. This co-existence can only be explained through the ambitions to seize the riches of the country.

I will finish by speaking about the situation in Ivory Coast today. At the beginning of the month, there were massacres in the Western part of the country, in Douokou???. In fact, the outsiders who owned plantations and who left these lands due to the war have wanted to return to take back their land that, in the meantime, have been taken by the locals. Thus the outsiders attacked villages in this region.

Of course, there is the crucial question of the upcoming elections. The Constitution was not modified but a special candidate was chosen to lead the rebellion. If you ask me whether elections will take place in Ivory Coast in October, I wouldn't be able to tell you. I would be tempted to tell you that they won't take place - but nobody knows what is going to happen. The disarmament that was supposed to have begun and be finished by July has not really even begun.

Thus, how can you organize elections in a country divided in two, with administration completely concentrated in the free zones? Elections must be for the whole population. Therefore, we are facing an uncertain situation from now to October. The electoral events are supposed to take place between October 25 and 30. Facing this situation we hope that everybody will make a contribution to bring about a real peace.

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