ITUC OnLine – March 29, 2007

Brussels, 28 March 2007 (ITUC Online): Whilst Guinea is still waiting to see the formation of a new government following the end of a serious political crisis triggered by the brutal repression of a general strike in January and February, the three main national trade union confederations, backed by the ITUC, decided, at a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to organise major conference on national reconstruction and reconciliation. The event is scheduled to take place at the end of May in the Guinean capital, Conakry. Representatives will be invited from the government, civil society organisations, the African Union, ECOWAS, the European Union, international finance institutions and several other international agencies, along with Guinean and international trade unions.

The Guinean trade union leaders, Rabiatou Diallo of the CNTG, Ibrahim Fofana of the USTG and Yamadou Toure of the ONSLG, also met with high level representatives of European institutions in Brussels. They are currently in Geneva, where the Governing Body of the International Labour Office is meeting this week.

The three trade union centres worked together to bring an end to the crisis provoked by the repression of the general strike launched on 10 January 2007 in Guinea. Under pressure from the trade union movement, President Lansana Conté appointed Lansana Kouyaté as prime minister, with extended powers. Kouyaté was one of the four figures proposed by the unions and civil society organisations. But this crisis-struck country is still plagued with difficulties. The talks on the formation of a new government are deadlocked and the prime minister has been left isolated. A large part of the population is affected by malnutrition, corruption remains rampant, and an economic and social recovery is nowhere in sight. Human and trade union rights are flouted at will and violent repression is common currency.

“The unions’ success in securing the appointment of the prime minister last month is an important step forward in the reconstruction of the country. But the work isn’t yet finished and it is essential that the largest numbers possible mobilise to ensure a definitive end to the crisis that has been devastating Guinea for far too long,” said ITUC general secretary, Guy Ryder.