Civil servants in the Central Africa Republic (CAR) went on strike again on Wednesday, four days after an agreement seemed to have been reached for them to return to work from an earlier industrial action that lasted over one month.
"Their repeated strikes are legal but the workers should know that they will weaken the country," Jacques Bothy, the minister of labour, said Wednesday in Bangui.
Most schools in the capital were closed on Wednesday.
An agreement had been reached on Saturday between the trade unions and government but at a rally on Tuesday civil servants rejected a government proposal to pay two of the 45 months they are owed in salary arrears, particularly as it would not be paid until the end of the November.
"We want the money now," Louise Kembango, a civil servant attending Tuesday's rally, said. "If the government is not paying our money until the end of the month then we are going to stay at home until we get it."
Many civil servants at the meeting said they did not believe the government would pay them anything at the end of November.
"We don't believe the government as it has made similar promises in the past that it did not respect," said Noel Ramadan, deputy chairman of the country's largest trade union, the Union syndicale des travailleurs de Centrafrique.
Ramadan said the union was not committed to Saturday's agreement because its demands had not been met.
"We were expecting the government to pay at least four months but it promised only two," he said.
However, he added, "If the two months had been paid now we would have decided to go back to work."
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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