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Algerian civil servants to embark on nationwide strike to protest socio-economic crisis

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Beginning from April 26 and 27, public servants in Algeria will begin a massive strike action to protest against worsening social crisis in the country which has given rise to “soaring food prices which have grown to record levels, and eroding purchasing power due to the ruling junta’s mismanagement and corruption.”

The two-day industrial action, according to the organisers, was agreed upon by the confederation of trade unions representing the country’s employees in several public administrations.

“University teachers, academic researchers, healthcare workers and local authority workers will also join the strike movement,” a memo dispatched to all the unions stated in part.

“The trade unionists protests are against deteriorating public working conditions and services. The social crisis in Algeria has reached its peak heralding an imminent implosion of the country following the devaluation of the dinar and skyrocketing inflation.

“Algerians suffer from acute shortage of cooking oil, water, milk, pasta and other staple foods, leading to a widespread and growing popular uproar in the country,” it added.

Experts in the country are blaming the government for the situation, saying food shortages are the outcome of a broken socioeconomic model.

“Despite the recent rise in oil prices, Algeria is paying the price of its economic choice to buy social peace,” a business economist said.

“The Algerian rulers have so far failed to reduce the country’s reliance on hydrocarbon exports and sustainably reduce macroeconomic imbalances, diversify the economy, and create private sector jobs

“Their only strategy is survival and maintaining grip on power, regardless of the immense and ruinous long-term damage that they are inflicting on their country,” he added.

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Sudan recalls Ambassador from Addis Ababa after accusing Ethiopia of executing soldiers

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Sudan has recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia after accusing the Ethiopian army of executing seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian who had been held in captivity.

The Sudanese military had said on Sunday that the Ethiopian soldiers had executed the captives and displayed their bodies in public while negotiations were ongoing for their release, promising that there would be “an appropriate response” to the execution.

“It is an act that contravenes all laws and customs of war and international humanitarian law, the Ethiopian army executed seven Sudanese soldiers and a citizen who were their captives.

“This treacherous act will not pass without a response,” the Sudanese military said.

The Ethiopian government however, denied complicity by its military in the killing of the Sudanese soldiers, blaming the Sudanese forces for crossing into its territory and provoking a clash.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Addis Ababa, issued a statement expressing regret over the incident but said Ethiopia has been misrepresented.

“The Government of Ethiopia categorically rejects the misrepresentation of these facts by the Sudanese defense forces that unjustly put the blame on Ethiopia, while it was the Sudanese army unit that crossed (over) the Ethiopian border, provoking the incident.”

But in an announcement late Monday, Sudan said it would recall its envoy from Addis Ababa as well as summon the Ethiopian ambassador from Khartoum.

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Uganda’s Government changes position, invites striking art teachers for negotiations

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The Ugandan government has made a turn on its decision to sack all arts teachers involved in the industrial action.

The change in position comes barely days after the government threatened to dismiss the teachers. Minister Raphael Magyezi had revealed that the government had reached a final position to have Arts striking teachers sacked if they do not get back to class.

The government backed down and invited the leaders of the tutors’ union for negotiations to end the ongoing strike that has paralysed learning in public schools for two weeks now.

Art teachers across Uganda downed tools last week, threatening to throw the country’s education sector into yet another crisis, a few months after schools came out of two years of a shutdown that kept thousands of learners at home.

The general secretary of the Uganda Professional Science Teachers Union, Mr Aron Mugaiga, had advised the leadership of the Uganda National Teachers Union (Unatu) to encourage their art counterparts to return to class.

“I urge members to go back and teach because if they continue with the industrial action, the lost time will never be recovered when the government affects their pay enhancement. I believe the doors for negotiations are still open,” Mr Mugaiga said.

The ongoing strike is just five months after Uganda reopened schools following a two-year closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has already caused outrage as more than eight million children in public schools miss out on learning.

Over 300 percent pay increment was allocated for science teachers in Uganda’s budget for the 2022/23 financial year, which starts in July but the allocation does not include arts and humanities teachers.

It is not uncommon to see prolonged industrial actions in Africa. Elsewhere in the continent, Nigeria, University teachers have been on strike since February over salary related agreement the academic union had with the government in 2009.

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