Random highlights from the Algerian media - because English speakers need to follow Algeria news too

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Union chiefs arrested

El Khabar (EN), Ech Chourouk, El Watan, Liberte: Three unionists from the National Higher Education Union (CNES), a split union of university teachers most of who have been on strike for higher salaries since May 13, have been arrested following a Ministry of Higher Education complaint that they were still striking despite a judicial decision banning the strike. Farid Cherbal, the deputy national coordinator, came before a judge at Harrach court in Algiers today; he was charged with inciting an illegal strike and disobeying a judicial decision. The gallery was filled with supporters from Bab ez-Zouar University and other institutes.

Khaled Bessila, CNES coordinator for Constantine's Mentouri University, was arrested on charges of disobeying a judicial decision, slander, and incitement to strike; he was sent back home at 2am this morning, but remains under judicial surveillance. Mustapha Mechab, regional coordinator for the west, was arrested by plainclothes policemen leaving his home in Sidi-bel-Abbes, after having been suspended from his post in the science faculty of Sidi-bel-Abbes University.

On May 10, the courts declared the strike illegal under law 14/90, which obliges every union to present a list of members which includes at least 20% of the company's permanent workers. (El Watan) The national committee of the union decided to end the strike on May 17th, obeying the judicial decision; they had removed Cherbal and Mechab from their posts (El Watan). However, a substantial proportion of the union refused to accept the verdict, nor the removal of Cherbal and Mechab, and has remained on strike. The local branches of CNES have condemned the arrest, while the national council remains silent.

The arrests were condemned by the FFS, El Islah, HMS (MSP), the Workers' Party, and the Socialist Workers' Party. El Islah representative Lakhdar Benkhalaf asked rhetorically: "Why are strikes organised by the central union [the UGTA, the sole officially recognized union] legal, while strikes organised by independent unions never are?"

If you have more free time than I do, the relevant Algerian laws should be available at LexAlgeria.


Post a Comment

<< Home