National 24-hour strike in French public services over pay and conditions; Amazon warehouse workers in France begin stoppage over pay; Finnish nurses and municipal workers strike over pay and conditions; five-week strike by thousands of miners at South African Sibanye-Stillwater gold mines threatens to spread to coal mines

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

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National strike in French public services over pay and conditions

On March 31, workers in local public services throughout France stopped work to join strike rallies called by the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) over pay and conditions in the sector and society. The CGT demanded an increase of 10 percent to the basic rate used to calculate pay of local civil servants. Demonstrators denounced the plan to increase the retirement age to 65, and the new law increasing working hours.

According to the CGT, 20,000 workers joined the strike, and there were more than 100 marches and protests nationwide.

Workers at Amazon in France walk out over pay

Since Monday, workers at all eight Amazon warehouses in France joined a strike called by the five unions at the company over pay. According to the unions, as of Tuesday 1,200 workers had joined the stoppages, and the unions announced more protests would be called but did not specify the form.

The unions are demanding a 5 percent pay increase, while Amazon boasts that its offer of a below-inflation 3 percent is higher than other companies in the same sector.

French foundry workers continue occupation against closure despite court injunction

Former French workers of the Aveyronnaise Metallurgy Company (SAM), liquidated in November with the loss of 350 jobs, continue to occupy the site in Aveyron to prevent the sale of equipment. The company provided parts for Renault.

Last week, a court ordered the workers to end their occupation by April 5, threatening to send the police to evict them. Despite the court order the occupation continues, having now lasted for over 135 days, according to Sud Radio.

The CGT called for a rally outside the factory on Tuesday, and is continuing talks with the French state to find a buyer for SAM. Most of the former workers also announced they plan to take legal action to seek compensation from Renault, SAM’s only customer.

Finnish nurses and municipal workers strike over pay and conditions

This week, nurses and municipal workers in Finland continued a campaign of strikes to demand pay increases and improvements to their working conditions.

Around 25,000 nurses across the country began a strike in six districts on April 1, called by the Tehy and SuPer unions, who plan to call another 15,000 nurses to join the stoppages from April 15. Both strikes were due to begin in March, but were postponed by order of the government, with only an overtime ban beginning on March 24.

The employers’ association claims the unions’ demand for a 3.6 percent pay increase would be unaffordable for the government. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that the government approved an additional 2 billion euros in military spending. This represents a 70 percent increase, and brings Finland, which is not a NATO member, in line with NATO’s target that military spending should be more than 2 percent of GDP.

Workers in other municipal services, such as school canteens, crèches and public transport also joined strikes for the same pay demand, walking out for two days this week in the cities of Jyväskylä, Turku, Oulu and Rovaniemi, according to the Finnish Broadcasting Company, following previous strike days in March. Planned stoppages involve up to 81,000 workers throughout Finland, while the government’s National Mediator is considering forcing the dispute into arbitration.

Strike at Finnish paper company UPM continues

Workers at the Finnish paper and logging company UPM have been on strike since January 1, after the company announced it would not adhere to the collective agreement for the paper industry.

The company intends to impose five different agreements on workers in different areas of its business, and according to journalist Heikki Jokinen the new conditions it plans to impose include 70-100 additional annual working hours with no extra pay.

A letter to UPM from international union confederations said they calculated the strike of 2,000 workers was costing the company around 20 million euros each week, and made an appeal to shareholders to make the company negotiate “so that we can return to healthy and constructive industrial relations, productivity and shared prosperity.” In a sign that the unions intend to wage no struggle against attacks on conditions once they have their seat at the table, the letter says UPM’s changes “bring no business advantage.”

UPM reported 568 million euros in net income for 2020, and nearly 700 million euros in dividends to shareholders. The strike is currently planned to last until April 30, after the Paperworkers’ Union extended the end date.

Serbian teachers join third day of strikes over class sizes and pay

Around 2,000 teachers in more than 500 schools in Serbia joined a strike on March 31 called by the Union of Education Workers of Serbia, shortening class sizes to 30 minutes for the day.

The union is demanding a reduction in class sizes from 30 to 24 students, a 12 percent pay increase, and the payment of at least a third of the wage arrears of 20,000 dinars. This was the last of three strikes called by the union, after previous stoppages on March 17 and 21.

Teachers in Berlin, Germany strike to demand smaller classes

On Thursday, around 2,000 teachers in Berlin joined a strike and rally in the German capital called by the Education and Science Workers' Union (GEW) to demand smaller class sizes. Class sizes in primary schools can be as high as 26 in Berlin, and the GEW is asking that this be restricted to 19, with reductions also in secondary schools.

According to the Berliner Morgenpost, the NATO proxy war in Ukraine was once again used as an excuse to attack striking workers, when the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Franziska Giffey of the Social Democratic Party, criticised the decision to strike as 2,000 young refugees from the war had been taken into Germany. Demonstrators pointed out that smaller class sizes would both reduce stress for teachers and improve education and pastoral care for children.

Municipal workers in Çiğli, Turkey strike in collective bargaining dispute

Municipal workers in Çiğli, a district of the Turkish city of İzmir, joined a strike on Thursday during collective bargaining negotiations between the municipal government and the Genel-İş union.

According to BirGün, in negotiations the highest pay rise offered for the 836 workers was 31 percent for the lowest paid, but official inflation is currently 61 percent as the country’s currency collapses.

Glass workers in Belgium strike to demand unpaid bonus

Workers at AGC Glass in the Belgian town of Moustier continue a series of strikes begun on March 17, after the company refused to pay a productivity and safety bonus.

RTL reported that 500 of the 700 workers at the Moustier site joined the stoppages called by the Confederation of Christian Trade Unions.

According to RTBF, AGC claims it is unable to afford to pay the bonus agreed with CSC. AGC is a multinational glass manufacturer based in Japan, which sells glass to most auto manufacturers and reported an operating profit of 206 billion yen for 2021. Basic pay rises for 2021 were restricted by law in Belgium to only 0.4 percent, while inflation has now risen to 8.3 percent, leading to a sharp decline in living standards for workers.

Norwegian union calls off strike of 27,600 industrial workers

Following last minute negotiations on April 1, Fellesforbundet (United Federation of Trade Unions), Norway’s largest private-sector union, announced it had reached a deal with employers’ association Norsk Industri, calling off a planned strike of 27,600 industrial workers.

The dispute covered “front leading” industries which compete on the world market, whose collective agreement is usually signed before any other sector in Norway and sets the pattern for other sectors. Norsk Industri insisted it would not increase wages by more than 3.5 percent, and while the headline figure of the new agreement was 3.7 percent, matching current inflation, according to FriFagbevegelse that figure represents additional spending by employers, not the wages workers take home. Around 0.2 percent is increased spending on work clothes and safety equipment, and 1.4 to 1.5 percent is to be negotiated locally.

Shortly after the industrial agreement was signed, Fellesforbundet signed another similar agreement with the employers’ association in the construction sector, ending a strike which would have involved over 16,000 construction workers.

Spanish trade unions call off major logistics strike in Guadalajara after agreeing well below inflation pay deal

At the last minute on Tuesday, the General Workers’ Union (UGT) and Workers' Commissions (CCOO), two of Spain’s largest unions, called off a three-day strike of 25,000 logistics workers in the province of Guadalajara. They signed a new collective agreement with the association representing 1,200 companies.

According to En Castilla La Mancha, the basic pay increase is 1.5 percent for 2022, with an agreement to review pay based on inflation, which is now nearly 10 percent. It also agreed the payment of 60 percent of the back pay from last year’s pay deal.

The CCOO pointed out that the agreement applies to almost a third of the working class in Guadalajara. A strike in logistics would have had a huge impact following the end of the lorry drivers’ strike over fuel price increases.

Pay strike continues by Chep pallet production workers in Greater Manchester, England

The stoppage by around 70 UK workers at Chep in Greater Manchester is now entering its nineteenth week. The indefinite strike began on December 17, after workers rejected a one percent pay offer. The workers are shortly to reballot to renew their strike mandate for a further 12 weeks.

The Unite union members, who make pallets for companies like Heinz and Heineken, are paid £1,000 less than workers at other Chep sites. Trafford Park workers voted 75 percent to strike against a two percent offer. They are pushing for five percent this year, and five percent for next year, which with inflation at 8.2 percent and rising would still be a wage cut.

Chep, part of supply chain company the Brambles headquartered in Australia, recorded profits of £150 million last year. Monday to Friday 24-hour picketing at the Manchester site is ongoing. The strike is now the longest running continuous strike by Unite members since the union was formed in 2007.

A solidarity march and rally are organised for April 13, organised by Manchester Trades Union Council and the People’s Assembly—organisations that provide a cover for Unite as it negotiates below-inflation wage deals up and down the country, and keeps disputes isolated.

UK: Strike continues over pay by refuse drivers employed by scab-organising Coventry Labour council

The all-out strike by 70 UK refuse collection lorry drivers against Labour Party-run Coventry City Council continues. The strike of Unite union members began on January 31, and is set to run into the summer.

Coventry council hired a replacement scab workforce mobilised through its wholly owned arms-length company, Tom White Waste. It set up sites across the city where waste can be dropped off. The sites are guarded by privately hired security staff.

The Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers’ pay starts at just £22,183 a year. It takes 11 years of service to reach the top of the pay scale. There is a UK-wide shortage of HGV drivers, and some councils increased pay or made retention payments to keep refuse collection drivers.

The Unite union members recently voted by a 94 percent margin to continue their stoppage, which will coincide with the May local election campaign. They reballoted as the mandate for the current action ran out March 24.

The council suspended shop steward, Peter Randle, on what Unite said were bogus charges. On Tuesday, Randle attended a council hearing over his suspension, accompanied by many supporters.

Pay strikes by train conductors at TransPennine Express in England over pay to continue until June

Twenty-four-hour strikes each Sunday by around 270 train conductors at TransPennine Express (TPE), which runs services in the north of England, are to continue until June 5. Additional 24-hour strikes will also take place Saturday April 16, Saturday April 30 and Saturday June 4. The workers began their sequence of walkouts February 13.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union members are calling for an end to the pay gap between them and other TPE workers. The dispute also concerns a new agreement covering rest days and Sunday working. The agreement covers the use of new technology for payment. The TPE conductors are calling for a 2p payment per transaction for checking tickets via new technology, in line with conductors working for Northern Trains who get this.

The train conductors voted by an 85 percent majority to strike.

Further stoppages by UK tugboat crews at Teesport over pay

Tugboat crew working for Svitzer Marine at Teesport, England are due to begin a four-day strike on April 13. They have already held a 48-hour strike March 1, followed by a 24-hour strike March 9.

The Unite union members voted 100 percent for the stoppages. They oppose a pay freeze enforced by the company. Svitzer is part of shipping giant Maersk, which is forecast to announce profits of nearly £12 billion for 2021.

A planned stoppage on March 26 was suspended by Unite who offered to attend talks on the dispute brokered by Acas, the government mediation service. However, Svitzer refused to consider attending the proposed talks.

Tugboat crews are responsible for docking and guiding the giant container ships that use the port.

Week-long strike by staff at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland over pay

Staff working in IT, support, catering and security at Napier University, Edinburgh in Scotland have been on strike all this week.

The Unison union members are pushing for a wage increase. With the last two imposed wage settlements of 0 percent followed by 1.5 percent, the workers suffered a large cut in real terms while inflation is at a 30-year high.

Walkout by workers at UK nuclear power construction site Hinkley Point C

Around 250 workers walked out at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power construction site, Somerset, on April 1. The issue according to press reports was over bonuses and “working arrangements.”

The site is being developed by French energy company EDF. The dispute is said to have arisen after EDFA launched a review of progress of work at the site. The workers returned to the job after talks between unions, EDF and the main civil engineering contractor on the site, Bylor.

Workers at Caterpillar in Northern Ireland set to walk out over pay

Workers employed by heavy construction machinery manufacturer Caterpillar in Northern Ireland plan a series of stoppages over pay. The company has sites at the Springvale business park in Belfast and at Larne.

The Unite members rejected the latest unacceptable pay offer from the company predicated on compulsory overtime. A series of four-day strikes was announced. The first will begin April 11, then immediately after Easter, May 3 and May 9.

US-based Caterpillar recorded surging profits last year after COVID-19 restrictions were abandoned, with cash reserves of around £7 billion, paying out £1.75 billion to shareholders.

UK post office workers vote to strike over pay freeze

UK post office workers employed at Crown Post Offices across the UK voted by a 97 percent to walk out. They are opposed to an imposed pay freeze.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) members are employed as counter staff, administrators and in supply chain positions. While the workers have voted for stoppages, the CWU is sitting on the vote and asking for talks.

Refuse workers in Cardiff, Wales vote to walk out over bullying claims

Refuse workers employed by Cardiff Council Waste Services department voted by a 98 percent majority to walk out.

The Unite union members accuse management of bullying tactics and non-adherence with health and safety regulations. Unite has yet to set dates for any stoppages.

Bus workers in Northern Ireland vote for action over pay

Bus workers including cleaners, drivers and shunters working for Translink in Northern Ireland voted for industrial action after rejecting the company’s pay offer.

The Unite and GMB union members rejected a three percent pay offer made by the company four times. No dates for action have yet been announced.

Plaster manufacturing workers strike threat over move to break pay promise

Workers employed by building plaster manufacturer British Gypsum voted by a 97 percent majority in a consultative vote in favour of balloting for industrial action.

The GMB members voted after British Gypsum threatened to renege on a two-year pay deal signed last year. In the deal British Gypsum promised to give a pay rise this year in line with the Consumer Price Index figure. Following the vote, British Gypsum agreed to honour the deal.

Scottish college lecturers vote to strike over pay claim

College lecturers across Scotland voted by over 70 percent in favour of taking strike action to push for higher pay.

The Educational Institute of Scotland-Further Education Lecturers' Association (EIS-FELA) members also voted by 80 percent to take action short of a stoppage. The EIS-FELA has not scheduled any strike dates but instead requested further negotiations with the employers’ body.

Baggage handlers at Luton, UK airport set to strike over sick pay and wage arrears

Around 100 workers employed by GH London Ground Handling Services at Luton airport are due to strike through the Easter period, April 14-19. They voted by a 96 percent majority for the action.

The Unite union members are protesting the employer’s failure to bring in promised sick pay improvements. They are also protesting regular wage arrears.

GH provides baggage handling service to Wizz airline, and the strike is expected to affect their flights.

Support staff at Dundee University, Scotland to walk out over attacks on pensions

Scotland’s Dundee University is proposing changing pension arrangements for around 900 administration support staff. The changes would mean workers on grades one to six having to work longer, pay more and receive less pension.

The Unison union members already took part in two sets of industrial action. Around 300 Unison members will strike and picket for seven days during the exam period, including a rally on April 18. This will be followed by three weeks of selective action.

UK teachers on Isle of Man vote to walk out over pay and working conditions

UK teachers working on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea voted by an 84 percent majority on a 66 percent turnout to strike.

The NASUWT members are protesting a two percent pay offer backdated to September. According to the NASUWT, the value in real terms of teachers’ pay has fallen 30 percent since 2010. They are also protesting unsustainable workloads.

A NASUWT press release announcing the result of the vote noted the “vote must be a wake-up call to the Government which has failed to deliver the fair pay and working conditions that teachers need and deserve.” However, it made no mention of any proposed stoppages.

Teachers at London school announce further strikes over pay and conditions

Teachers at Walthamstow Primary Academy in east London will hold five days of stoppages after the upcoming Easter break.

The National Education Union members held previous walkouts in their fight for improved pay and against excessive workloads and management bullying.

UK Royal Mail managers to ballot for industrial action

The privatised UK Royal Mail, responsible for letter and parcel deliveries is seeking to cut around 1,000 managerial posts and re-employ the remaining staff on inferior pay terms.

The Unite union members voted by a near 70 percent to ballot for industrial action in an indicative vote. Unite is now preparing to hold an industrial action ballot. In 2021 Royal Mail cut 1,600 jobs.

Consultative ballot of UK civilian police staff over derisory pay offer

Civilian police staff in England and Wales are taking part in a consultative ballot over a 2.1 percent pay offer over 17 months. The Unite union members are advised to reject the pay offer. The ballot closes on April 29.

Engineers at Kilmarnock, Scotland ballot over pay

Workers at Mahle Engine Systems, Kilmarnock, Scotland are balloting for industrial action.

The Unite union members rejected by a near 90 percent majority a two-year pay deal, 5.5 percent this year and around 5 percent next year. The ballot for industrial action closes on April 19.

Mahle Engine Systems manufactures components for motorsport engines, combustion engines and electric vehicles.

Traffic wardens in Wiltshire, UK ballot over pay cut threat

Traffic wardens for Wiltshire County Council, England are balloting for industrial action. The ballot closes on April 30.

The GMB union members are opposed to proposals by Wiltshire County Council to impose a 10 percent pay cut meaning workers losing over £2,000 a year.

UK telecom staff ballot over below inflation pay offer

Thousands of UK workers employed by telecom company Telefonica/VMO2, (a merger of O2 and Virgin Media) are balloting to determine their attitude to a below inflation pay offer.

The ballot of CWU members closes on April 12. They were offered a three percent rise for this year, and the company indicated next year’s rise will be two percent. Inflation is currently at 8.2 percent as measured by the retail price index, and the company recently increased its charges by 11 percent.

In a press release, CWU said a big majority in the consultative vote would pressure the company to come back with an improved offer.

RMT union mounts bankrupt protests over UK P&O ferry sackings

The RMT union staged protests at Hull and Liverpool on Wednesday, with a planned protest at Cairnryan in Scotland due Friday. The protests were over P&O’s sacking of its entire 800 UK ferry crew and their replacement with a much lower paid scab workforce on March 17 by Zoom with no notice.

Faced with the bankrupt nationalist policy of appealing to the UK Tory government to reverse the sackings, almost the entire workforce signed up to an enhanced redundancy package on offer. There was a two-week deadline for workers to accept the enhanced package.

While workers in Dover and Hull did what they could to oppose their ejection from the vessels, and Dutch dockers in Rotterdam refused to unload P&O cargo, the RMT and Nautilus unions opposed a united struggle to defend jobs and raise wages of seafarers in all countries.

Unite cancels strike by bakery workers in Nottingham, UK as workers accept new pay offer

The Unite union called off the all-out strike by around 170 UK workers employed by Riverside Bakery in Nottingham due to begin March 30.

The company proposed a new pay deal, which was accepted by a 90 percent vote of the workers. The one-year deal is for a seven percent rise and protection of premium rates for weekends, bank holidays and overtime. Previously the company offered a pay rise predicated on lower premium and overtime rates.

Riverside is part of the Addo Food group, bought by private equity firm PAI Partners in 2020. The bakery makes quiches and savoury flans for supermarket chains including ASDA, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

Unite union suspends strike of airport baggage maintenance engineers at London Heathrow airport over pay

Unite suspended the strike of around 160 engineers working for Vanderlande Industries at London’s Heathrow airport, due to take place April 8 to 10.

The Unite members are responsible for maintaining baggage handling systems. They voted by a 97 percent majority on a 77 percent turnout to walk out to demand an improved pay offer.

Vanderlande made a new pay offer following Acas-brokered talks. The new deal has been put to the workers in a ballot.

GMB union calls off strike of ancillary workers at Croydon hospital in London as employer offers pay rise

The GMB union called off a planned strike of ancillary workers at Croydon hospital due to start Monday. The workers, employed by outsourcing company G4S to provide domestic and portering services at Croydon hospital in UK capital, voted by a 98 percent majority on a 61 percent turnout to strike.

The workers were opposed to G4S’s refusal to pay the London Living Wage or give occupational sick pay. The strike was called off after G4S agreed to offer a reported backdated 24 percent pay rise and provide occupational sick pay, which the workers accepted.

Unite union suspends stoppages in long-running Thames London ferry dispute

On March 28, Unite suspended strikes each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Woolwich Ferry on the Thames in the UK capital. The stoppages have been taking place since the beginning of the year.

An April 5 press release announcing the suspension stated Unite was holding another ballot, but it had “put forward proposals, which remain confidential, to Transport for London (TfL) bosses to kick-start meaningful talks over the poor employment relations that have been the hallmark of successive operators of the troubled ferry.”

Around 60 workers are involved in the long-running dispute with their current employer TfL and previous employer Briggs Marine Contractor Ltd.

Issues involved include an agreement on a new pay and reward scheme, excessive use of agency staff, victimisation of union representatives and a lack of adequate health and safety training for new employees. Six of the ferry workers, including two Unite union representatives, remain suspended.

A ferry service across the Thames at Woolwich has been in place since the 14th century.

Middle East

Strike of Iranian truck drivers over pay and rising costs

On Sunday, truck drivers in several Iranian provinces came out on strike. Cities affected included Kerman, Kermanshah and Tehran. On Tuesday, truck drivers in the city of Hamadan joined the strike. They were protesting low wages and escalating price rises, including the costs of maintaining their trucks and other issues.

Health staff at Lebanese hospital begin open-ended strike over pay and financial crisis

Lebanese medical staff and other employees at St Georges hospital in Ajaltoun, a town 15 miles north of Beirut, announced an open-ended strike on Monday.

They are protesting the erosion of their incomes as the Lebanese currency is increasingly devalued. They are also protesting the impact of the financial crisis which has led to severe shortages of equipment and supplies.

Lebanese refuse collection workers strike over wage arrears

Workers employed by Ramco Waste Management in the cities of Metn, Keserwan and parts of Beirut held an hours-long stoppage on Wednesday. They were protesting not receiving their wages for March.

Tunisian journalists launch strike over government control of media and underfunding

Saturday, Tunisian journalists organised by the National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists came out on strike. They are protesting government censorship of public media outlets and the underfunding of state-controlled media. The strike impacted Tunisian broadcasting and television outlets including the Tunisia-Africa News Agency.


Strike by thousands of miners at South African Sibanye-Stillwater gold mines threatens to spread to coal mines

Miners employed at Sibanye-Stillwater gold mines in South Africa are continuing their strike begun March 9 for a R1,000 monthly rise, while the company is offering R700 a month.

As the strike by the National Union of Miners (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) members enters a fifth week, the NUM has threatened to intensify the strike by calling out their members at coal mines that supply Eskom, the largest supplier of electricity in South Africa.

In 2019, AMCU sold out a five-month stoppage at Sibanye-Stillwater, accepting what it previously called a “slave labour deal” agreed by both the NUM and Solidarity.

Protesting workers fired on by security guards at electrical firm strike in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

A shop steward was shot at a demonstration at Jasco Electrical Manufacturers, Pinetown, South Africa where employees have been on strike for four weeks. The incident happened when two private security guards arrived and fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the striking workers. The union representative was taken to hospital due to blood loss from his wound.

At the time, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa members were peacefully protesting for a six percent pay increase, their December bonus and to be consulted about salary frequency.

Thousands of maritime workers in South Africa threaten strike for pay increases

Four thousand workers at the South African Maritime Safety Authority, who deal with ship safety inspections and emergencies such as oil spills, are threatening to strike after filing a wage dispute with the Council for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

The workers, over 75 percent of whom are members of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, have had no pay increases for two years and now demand a seven percent salary increment and tier package adjustments of between 12 and 35 percent.

Planned national pay strike by South African bus drivers set to go ahead

As many as 14,000 bus drivers across South Africa could begin a protected strike over pay and conditions on April 13, when a mandatory 30-day cooling off period ends.

The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union and the National Union of Metalworkers South Africa members demand a 10 percent increase while employer bodies, the South African Road Passenger Bargaining and the Commuter Bus Employers Association, offered 2.5 percent. Drivers also want a compulsory affordable healthcare scheme, travel expenses and late shift allowances.

Protests by nursing professionals for contract renewals spread across two South African provinces

Patients at two hospitals in Gauteng province, South Africa, were turned away as nursing staff protested the non-renewal of their temporary COVID-19 contracts. Meanwhile in Bhisho and other areas of Eastern Cape, post-community-service nursing professionals and COVID-19 contract workers are demanding to be absorbed into the provincial health department.

In Gauteng, demonstrations by Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union members closed two hospitals. This followed a demonstration March 9, when they marched to the Department of Health in Johannesburg to protest the loss of their temporary positions.

In Eastern Cape, nursing professionals protested over the expiration of their contracts at Bhisho Hospital March 25, and outside provincial health department offices March 29. On March 9, 200 student nurses demonstrated in the provincial capital at not being hired by the Department of Health when they qualify. The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa and four other unions have called for strikes in solidarity with the workers.

Doctors at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital in Nigeria on four-day strike

Doctors at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital in Kwara state, eastern Nigeria, began a four-day “warning” strike on March 31, after a sudden increase in avoidable deaths caused by the hospital's poor conditions.

The Association of Resident Doctors members say the hospital has suffered a severe lack of oxygen resulting in numerous deaths. Even the water and power supplies to the hospital are inconsistent.

Medical record staff walk out on strike in Uganda over pay

Over 2,000 members of staff responsible for medical records walked out on strike in Uganda on April 1. Those on strike earn a monthly salary of Shs933,461, compared to health workers on the same scale who receive Shs3.1m—more than three times as much.

Angolan doctors strike after 20 children die in hospital

Doctors in Angola went on strike after 20 children died in a single day due to lack of the required medicines and equipment. The deaths occurred at a single paediatric hospital in the capital Luanda.

The president of the doctors’ union, Adriano Manuel, was fired for raising the alarm on the deaths.

Doctors denounced the lack of medicines and equipment and accuse the government of building new facilities without employing staff to run them.

The government imposed a six percent increase in basic salaries, which amounts to a pay cut.

Civil servants set to strike in Lesotho for pay increase

Civil servants in Lesotho plan to walk out for a 25 percent pay increase. The unions tied workers to corporatist bodies set up by the government, but this arrangement is no longer able to contain the anger of workers.

The government was told by the International Monetary Fund to make drastic cuts in its wages bill, putting it on a collision course with the working class.