Monday, 7 February 2011

Algeria's 'Grand Sud' forms new committee for the rights of the unemployed

On 29th January, workers in Algeria's 'Grand Sud' formed a new organisation: the Comité national de défense des droits des chômeurs . There has been much unrest over a long period of time in the Saharan towns, where youth unemployment is rampant. The 5 - 9th January revolt saw extensive rioting in many of the desert's northern towns such as Ouargla, Laghouat, Djelfa, Bechar and even the generally docile Ghardaia.

Ironically, perhaps, the organiser of this new movement is a worker who has spent the last 2-3 years fighting in vain to reverse an employment injustice by a British company operating in the Algerian Sahara. Rather than the Algerian authorities examining his case, he was hounded by the authorities. The result is that he has formed an organisation which ultimately could become a much bigger threat to the regime than an isolated worker's grievance.

The Committee's first action is to hold a demonstration in Algiers on 6th February. One of its key objectives is to put an end to the way in which employers, especially foreign companies, profit from Algeria's poor social conditions by exploiting workers by offering derisory wages. The Committee is also targeting a number of other unacceptable labour practices.

For more news and expert analysis about Algeria, please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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