Central African Republic teachers strike for arrears, 2002

Goals

For the government to start paying back nine-months of arrears of their salaries.

Time period

October, 2002 to April, 2003

Country

Central African Republic

Location City/State/Province

Bangui
Jump to case narrative

Methods in 2nd segment

Methods in 3rd segment

Methods in 4th segment

Methods in 6th segment

Segment Length

1 month

Leaders

Interfederale des Enseignents des Centrafrique, Malachie Mbokane (The Union Chairman), Michel Kpingo (A Union Spokesman)

Partners

Not Known

External allies

Not Known

Involvement of social elites

Not Known

Opponents

Central African Republic Government, Ange-Félix Patassé

Nonviolent responses of opponent

Not Known

Campaigner violence

Not Known

Repressive Violence

Not Known

Cluster

Economic Justice

Classification

Defense

Group characterization

teachers

Additional notes on joining/exiting order

Joining order not known

Segment Length

1 month

Success in achieving specific demands/goals

0 out of 6 points

Survival

1 out of 1 points

Growth

2 out of 3 points

Total points

3 out of 10 points

Notes on outcomes

Although the Interfederale des Enseignants de Centrafrique made an agreement with the government to repay the salary arrears, the government failed to pay the arrears by 2004 and several months later began to accrue more arrears.

Database Narrative

Starting in 2001, rebels supporting the leader François Bozize attempted coups to overthrow President Ange-Félix Patassé in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. The political unrest during this time resulted in a drop of the country’s economy. The government fell behind in payments to many civil servants, such as teachers, and made a priority of paying soldiers to fight the rebels. The teachers demanded that the government pay them nine months of their salaries from the total of twenty-three months in arrears. In October 2002, 7,000 teachers engaged in an initial eight-day nationwide strike. If the government failed to respond to the demands, the teachers threatened to continue the strike.

After eight days the government offered to pay one month of the arrears, but the teachers refused the offer and continued to stay on strike. The government recruited new teachers to replace the strikers, but also failed to pay the newly hired teachers. By January 2003, eighty percent of the teachers were on strike. Although the majority of teachers were on strike, some pupils still continued to attend classes. However, in cities where rebels overtook the government, schools were not in session and thousands of civilians fled.

A confederation of five teachers' unions, Interfederale des Enseignants des Centrafrique, attempted to reconcile the demands of the teachers with the government. The chairman, Malachie Mbokane, spoke with government officials and conveyed the message that teachers wanted the government to make responsible moves towards repaying the arrears, and that the teachers understood the economic and social hardships of the time and would consider revising their claims.

On March 15, Bozize’s coup ousted Patassé. The new Bozize administration promised to pay salaries monthly and to repay the arrears once the economic situation improved. Michel Kpingo, a union spokesman publicly stated that because the unions felt that they had contributed to the change in government, and that they were represented in the transitional government, the teachers decided to end the strike.

By April the Interfederale des Enseignants de Centrafrique reached an agreement to resume work on 2 May. The teachers were subsequently paid their salaries for April. The government promptly paid monthly salaries to the teachers until November 2003 when they began to fall behind in payment. On January 8, 2004, Mohamed Mahadi-Marboua, the minister of finance for the Interfederale des Enseignants des Centrafrique announced that the government failed to pay the salary arrears as promised by the Bozize government. 

Sources

- "Central African Republic." U.S. Department of State. 31 Mar. 2003. Web. 27 Mar. 2011. <http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18174.htm>.
- "Central African Republic: Schools Reopen After Six-Month Teacher Strike." IRIN [Bangui] 5 May 2003.
- "Interfédérale Des Enseignants De Centrafrique (IFEC) Mohamed Mahadi-Marboua." AFRIQUE-EXPRESS. 20 Jan. 2004. Web. 27 Mar. 2011. <http://www.afrique-express.com/archive/CENTRALE/rca/rcapol/286grognesyndicale.htm>.
- "Striking Teachers Ready for Talks On Pay Arrears." Africa News [Bangui] 3 Oct. 2002.
- "Teachers Extend Their Strike." Africa News [Bangui] 22 Jan. 2003.
- "Teachers, Pupils to Be Transported to Schools, Minister Says." Africa News [Bangui] 13 May 2003.

Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy

Nicole Vanchieri, 27/03/2011