Mali election workers end strike


Election organisers in Mali ended a two-week strike over working conditions, a union said, lifting a threat to a looming vote.

Malians are due to vote on July 29 in a presidential election many hope will chart a way out of six years of political unrest and jihadist violence.

Attacks by militants cast doubt on government’s ability to hold the poll on time even before the strike, which disrupted distribution of voting cards.

Last week, militants raided the headquarters of a regional military base in central Mali, leaving at least six people dead. Four civilians were killed on Sunday by a car bomb that targeted French troops in the north

Organisers agreed to end their strike on Tuesday and the distribution of voting cards resumed on Wednesday, Ousmane Christian Diarra, secretary-general of the National Syndicate of Civil Administrators, told Reuters.

An agreement between two unions and government, seen by Reuters, gave the workers a salary raise. Diarra said officers would continue to press for more concessions.
“We have not accepted government’s offer for bonuses and allowances, but agreed to suspend the strike while negotiations continue,” said Diarra.
“This is to avoid undermining the electoral process,” he added.

Mali has been in turmoil since Tuareg rebels and loosely allied jihadists seized its desert north in 2012, prompting French forces to intervene to push them back the following year.

Those groups regained a foothold in the north and centre, using the sparsely-populated Sahel as a launchpad for attacks across the region.