A programme of escalating nationwide strikes of the private and public sectors in Yemen began today for pay increases and the establishment of a minimum wage.
The Arab Monitor reported that the Yemeni General Labour Union called all its members and supporters to begin a general strike starting Saturday 15 May. GLU called for the strike after Prime Minister Ali Mujawar failed to respond to the demands of the unions. As GLU chairman Mohammed al-Jedri alleges, this comes despite an earlier agreement between GLU and the government to set up a joint committee that would tackle the unions' demands. Following the sharp rise in prices and cost of living that has been afflicting Yemeni citizens in the last two years, GLU demands a rise in wages and salaries and the establishment of a minimum wage of at least 300 dollars as well as the recognition of employees' rights for workers in the cleaning sector. The strike will involve all branches in the public and private sector, with the exception of emergency services in the health, the electricity and water supply and airline control towers.
Jamal Assanabani, deputy chairman of the GLU, said the strikers demands were based on an accurate study of monthly basic needs of employees on the minimum wage level and were supported by all Arab and international labour unions and federations, as well as by International Labour Organizations. The general strike began today for one hour, followed by another one-hour strike on Sunday; then, for Monday and Tuesday the strike will extend into three hours, following which it will cover the entire day starting Monday 24 May.