Mali strike paralyses banks and government offices

The National Union of Malian Workers has called a four-day strike after pay negotiations with the interim government collapsed
·2 min read

Mali's largest trade union paralysed banks and government offices on Monday after launching a strike in the West African country, amid growing disenchantment with the post-coup government.

The National Union of Malian Workers (UNTM), which represents public servants and private-sector employees, called the 4-day strike after pay negotiations with Mali's interim government collapsed.

UNTM official Ousmane Traore told AFP that workers in banks, the treasury and the departments of customs and taxes were mostly following the strike.

"In all regions of Mali and in Bamako, the administration is paralysed," he added, referring to the landlocked nation's capital.

Mali is governed by an transitional government installed after military officers deposed president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August, after weeks of protests over his handling of Mali's jihadist insurgency, and perceived corruption.

Under the threat of international sanctions, the military handed power between September and October to a caretaker government that pledged to reform the constitution and stage elections within 18 months.

But figures with army links dominate this body, and there is growing anger about their prominent role and the slowness of reforms.

Coup leader Assimi Goita is currently serving as interim vice president and the interim president, Bah Ndaw, is a retired army officer.

This month, the M5 opposition movement -- which led anti-Keita protests in 2020 -- also urged dissolving the transitional government in favour of "a more legitimate" body.

Responding to growing criticism, the presidency said last week that Interim Prime Minister Moctar Ouane would form a more inclusive cabinet.

M5 has already refused to participate in the new government, however. The question of the military's participation is particularly fraught.

Political contestation in Mali has raised concerns among the the war-torn country's neighbours.

A delegation from the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States urged the UNTM to delay its strike until a new government is formed, according to union official Traore.

"We told them that the government was dissolved in the middle of negotiations. So we can't stop," Traore said.