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Unions call for general strike to protest referendum

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-07-24

Seven main trade unions in Niger called for a 48-hour general strike, starting on Thursday, to challenge President Mamadou Tandja to withdraw his referendum plan that would allow for a constitutional rewrite to run for unlimited terms.

AFP - Seven main trade unions in Niger have called for a 48-hour general strike to force President Mamadou Tandja to abandon his plans to extend his stay in office, they said on Wednesday.
  
The strike action is due to kick off on Thursday.
  
"We are calling on all public sector, parastatal, private and even the informal sector workers to embark on a mass strike," Issoufou Sidibe, secretary general of the Confederation of Democratic Workers of Niger (CDTN) announced on radio.
  
Abdou Maigandi of the umbrella labour group the USTN said the strike would be a "very clear challenge to Mr Tandja to withdraw his referendum plan which poses a serious threat to democracy".
  
Tandja, 71, must according to the current constitution step down from office on December 22 when his second five-year tenure ends.
  
But in defiance of a constitutional court and parliament, Tandja has called a referendum on August 4 to vote on a new constitution that will allow him to keep power for three more years and run for office again for unlimited terms.
  
Envoys from the United Nations and African regional blocs who met Tandja on Tuesday expressed deep concern at the situation in Niger.
  
In June thousands of workers staged a day long strike demanding that Tandja respect the constitution of this vast, arid and deeply impoverished west African country.
  

Date created : 2009-07-22

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