Civil servants in Guinea-Bissau went on strike on Tuesday, days after the country passed its first budget following a three-year political crisis, their union told AFP.
The workers, who plan to strike for three days, are demanding a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, according to the National Union of Guinea-Bissau Workers (UNTG), the largest civil servants’ union.
The small West African country’s parliament just unanimously adopted its first budget after nearly three years of political instability ahead of legislative elections set for November.
Guinea-Bissau, with a population of 1.8 million, has experienced periods of political and military instability marked by coups and mutinies of soldiers for several years.
In the capital Bissau, ministries and public offices were closed on Tuesday and hospital services were reduced to a minimum, an AFP journalist said.
UNTG – which says 90 percent of the country’s estimated 13 000 civil servants are striking – is calling for the minimum monthly salary to be upped from 19 200 CFA francs to 59 000 CFA francs.
The government can increase civil servant’s salaries as MPs and ministers recently received a raise, UNTG leader Julio Antonio Mendoca told AFP.
The former Portuguese colony had been in the grip of a power struggle since August 2015, when President Jose Mario Vaz sacked his then prime minister Domingos Simoes Pereira.
After lawmakers did not meet for nearly two years, an agreement was reached in April at a summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and a new prime minister, Aristides Gomes, was appointed.