Guinea teachers call off month-long strike

(File, Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
(File, Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Conakry - Guinea's powerful teachers' union called off a month-long strike on Wednesday after reaching an agreement with the government on pay.

The strikes have paralysed the country's education system and fractured relations between teachers, parents and the state, while President Alpha Conde has faced criticism for allowing the industrial action to drag on.

They have run in parallel to protests by the opposition Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG), one of whose supporters was killed during a demonstration on Wednesday, his family told AFP.

Aboubacar Soumah, the secretary general of the SLECG teachers' union, declared the strike over after signing an agreement with the Inspector General for Work, Alya Camara.

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The union has gained a guarantee of a 40-percent pay increase agreed in 2017 which was only partially implemented in February.

The two sides have also agreed to negotiations on May 2-25 for a base salary of eight million Guinean francs ($880) and to a promise that strikers would not be punished.

"Each of us put the interests of Guinea first, through the children who should be back at school," said government mediator Mohamed Said Fofana.

President Conde's authority has been sorely tested by the strike, which followed similar industrial action last year.

Rights groups regularly criticise the heavy death tolls during protests and industrial action in Guinea.

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