Ivory Coast dockers suspend strike

ANGE ABOA

DOCKERS in Ivory Coast’s two main ports of Abidjan and San Pedro have suspended a week-long strike while negotiations are held with the government, a union spokesperson said on Monday.

Workers demanding better working conditions and pay blocked access to the ports on Friday, a move that threatened to curb cocoa bean exports from the world’s top producer.

But activity at the port had returned to normal after the government said it was willing to negotiate, Pierre Guigrehi of the main dockers’ union, FNADCI, told Reuters.

“We have resumed work,” Guigrehi said. “We want to give the negotiations a chance to succeed so we have suspended the strike for the moment.”

One of the dockers’ demands was for the government to respect a 2019 agreement to pay them three euros ($3.40) per hour, in line with international standards.

They currently earn up to one euro per hour.

Around 500,000-600,000 tonnes of cocoa beans are expected to be exported by mid-January and a delay in shipments could have had damaging consequences for exporters and their customers, the head of a European cocoa exporting firm warned last week.



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