Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) transport workers strike, 2010

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Timing
Time Period:  
April 12,
2010
to
April 16,
2010
Location and Goals
Country: 
Ivory Coast
Location City/State/Province: 
Mostly in Abidjan and San Pedro
Goals: 
That the price of fuel (645 CFA francs/L) be reduced by 100 CFA francs
 

The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, commonly known in English as Ivory Coast, is a Francophone West African county that plays a key role in transit trade for neighboring landlocked countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.

Since the beginning of 2010, the Ivorian government increased diesel prices twice to 645 CFA francs ($1.34) per liter. This raise set Côte d’Ivoire as the highest fuel price in Francophone West Africa.

On Monday, April 12, 2010, the transport union declared the beginning of an indefinite transport strike. The transport unions demanded the government cut the diesel and petrol prices by 100 CFA francs from its 645 CFA francs. Taxi and “woro woro” (communal taxi) owners parked their taxis at their homes and parking lots. Bus drivers occupied parking lots, grounding their vehicles. Truck drivers joined more gradually in solidarity of the strike.

In response, the Ministry of Energy Augustin Komoe proposed a reduction of 15 CFA francs to end the strike, but the trade unions did not accept it, and again demanded the reduction of 100 CFA francs. Marius Comoe, president of the Association for Consumers, said, “The high price of fuel is making life unbearably expensive for Ivoirians. We are willing to remain on strike until the government reduces the cost of fuel because the alternative is to continue with the unbearably high prices.”

While the government did not propose a more probable compromise, the halting of taxis, buses, and trucks posed a serious threat to other Ivoirian industries, particularly the cocoa industry. Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s largest producer of cocoa beans, accounting for 35 percent of global cocoa output in 2009. The lack of public transportation—buses and taxis—prevented workers from going to work. The Abidjan Transport Society (SOTRA), a government-owned public transportation organization, was the only company offering transportation. Other industry workers waited for the SOTRA busses at transit stations for hours. Even when the workers managed to get to work at the cocoa port, the striking truck drivers had already parked their trucks in a blockade, blocking the filling stations. This prohibited the workers from offloading the cocoa and other goods.

Cocoa farmers could not send the cocoa from the interior because the majority did not own their own trucks or other modes of transportation. Furthermore, ferry goods to neighboring landlocked countries all became stationary. International media such as Reuters and BBC broadcasted concerns for the impact of the strike on the industry and price increase of basic goods. Toward the end of the week, many more transportation unions, especially truck drivers, had joined the strike, creating more barricades and halting many other industries.

On Friday, April 16, the transporters called off the strike when the government cut the price of diesel. Strike leader Losseni Diabate announced that they were “satisfied.”

Research Notes
Sources: 
Nam News Network. “Ivory Coast Transporters End Strike: Union.” April 19, 2010. <http://abidjan.usembassy.gov/april2010.html.>

Reuters. “UPDATE 2-Trucks keep rolling despite Ivorian transport strike.” April 15, 2010. <http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKLDE63E1Z120100415.>

Handy Shipping Guide. “No End In Site As Truck Drivers Strike In Ivory Coast Continues.” April 16, 2010. <http://www.handyshippingguide.com/shipping-news/no-end-in-site-as-truck-drivers-strike-in-ivory-coast-continues_1586.>

Additional Notes: 
Côte d’Ivoire is the largest cocoa producing country in the world. It also plays a key role in transit trade for neighboring landlocked countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. International concern about the cocoa industry and price increases of goods influenced the government’s decision to decrease the price of diesel.

Edited by Max Rennebohm (19/05/2011)

Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy: 
Jeewon Kim, 06/12/2010