‘The aspirations of Algerian workers’: a union confederation’s political demands.

‘An old-new central union, which ceased operating twenty five years ago; today, by young trade unionists, is reactivated’ —this was the Confédération syndicale des forces productives (COSYFOP’s) 3 September 2018 ‘Call to Algerian Workers’.

Officiated in 1991, the confederation’s first bloom lasted just two years, ‘despite its rapid spread across the vital sectors, in particular the hydrocarbon industry’ (wrote Kaddour Chouicha), as Algeria’s Black Decade enveloped the country’s fledgling ‘pluralisme syndical’.

COSYFOP president Rachid Malaoui recently told Jacobin’s Cole Stangler, on ‘the first day [of the 22 February Movement], we called on workers to come into the streets, to mobilise’; in early march, the confederation announced a five-day strike across the energy, industrial and health sectors.

The following notice, issued on 27 April, shows COSYFOP’s using industrial means for political ends, as a seemingly centreless social movement smashes the old-new against Algeria’s old-old regime.

Productive Forces Union Confederation (Cosyfop)

Reference: 719/2019

To members of the [state’s] Constitutional Council,

Notice of General Strike.

In accordance with the National Regeneration Conference, held at the Confederation Office, 30 July 2018.

In accordance with Law 90/14 concerning trade union conduct.

After a meeting of the Confederation’s National Council on 27 April 2019, and the ascertaining of the non-response to a warning of collective dispute concerning the following constitutional demands:

  • Termination of the functions (either by resignation or by withdrawal of confidence) of Mr. Kemal Fennich, the President of the current Constitutional Council, and his replacement with the national figure, Dr. Ahmed Talib al-Ibrahimi.
  • Dismissal or resignation of Mr. Abdelkader Ben Salah from the state Presidency upon the appointment of the new president of the Constitutional Council [i.e. al-Ibrahimi].
  • Dismissal or resignation of Nour-Eddine Badaoui’s government.

We inform the Constitutional Council, according to the approach followed on 20 December 1960, in al-Biar, Algeria [1], of the beginning of a general strike in response to the aspirations of Algerian workers.

The duration of the strike is three extendable or renewable days beginning 7 May 2019.

[1] ‘By the end of 1957, France claimed political dissent in Algieria had been eradicated. Yet soon the Algerian people were to take to the streets to reclaim their independence in a chapter that remains largely unknown (…) On 11 December 1960, three years after the Battle of Algiers, large-scale popular uprisings overcame French military oppression and changed the course of the Algerian revolution’ — Mathieu Rigouste, in his January 2017 Middle East Eye essay.

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