Sénégal: entire workforce fired for wildcat strike

Management at Mèches Darling have fired the entire workforce after a wildcat action.

Submitted by jef costello on September 13, 2007

Workers arrived at the factory gates this morning to find this notice:

"Management informs the entire staff, both permanent and contract staff that, following the ilegal strike action which paralysed the company, a collective dismissal has been decided upon. Dismissal letters have been passed to human resources."

Alongside this notice, firing some 600 workers, was a notice informing 67 workers, without explanation, that they had been kept on. Most of these workers chose to remain with their colleagues. "In a situation like this accepting such an offer is a betrayal. It's better to die than betray your comrades" said one of those on the list.

On the 6th of September workers put on red armbands in support of a pay claim. Management refused outright to enter into negotiations with workers. "In spite of that we still came to work every day until Gassan Obala sacked 200 day workers on Tuesday. It looks like he's stepped up a gear and sacked everyone" said Ndiaga Ndoye a worker's delegate.

He went on to stay that many of these workers had been with the company for 20 years, and even after that time some of them were still classed as day-workers.

Workers, picketing outside the factory, were defiant: "We had a right to wear those armbands. We'll do what it takes to defend ourselves. We're not letting this happen. We sacrificed a lot for that company, we turned it from nothing into one of the best companies in the country."

translated and edited from Solidarité Ouvrière blog