Public workers end strike in Guinea-Bissau after pay deal

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(iStock)
(iStock)

Public-sector workers in the West African state of Guinea-Bissau have called off a strike after securing a pay increase in talks with the government, their main trade union said on Friday.

The strike, launched on July 24, ended after the government agreed on Thursday to increase minimum monthly pay from 19 200 CFA francs ($33.91) to 50 000 francs from September, Julio Mendonca, head of the UNTG union, told AFP.

However, Prime Minister Aristide Gomes was somewhat more cautious.

In a statement to AFP late on Thursday, he said, "all parties have accepted the principle" of a pay rise.

"We are still in negotiations," he said. "We are all going to work at finding a definitive solution to this situation."

The strike, which affected a sector with 13 000 employees, was also followed by state media organisations. Public radio and television went silent and there were strikes at the daily newspaper No-Pintcha and news agency ANG.

Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony with a population of 1.8 million, is one of the poorest and most unstable countries in the world.

It has experienced years of volatility, marked by coups and soldiers' mutinies.

The country plunged into a power struggle in 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), which led to Gomes's appointment as prime minister.

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