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Benin: Constitutional Court to rule over right to strike Jan. 19 /update 2

The Constitutional Court is expected to rule over public sector employees’ right to strike on January 19; strikes scheduled for next week

19 Jan 10:56 AM UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 1/19/2018, 12:00 AM until 1/25/2018, 11:59 PM (Africa/Porto-Novo). COUNTRY/REGION Benin
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Event

The Constitutional Court is expected to rule over the right of public sector employees to strike on Friday, January 19. Depending on the ruling, tensions could ease or intensify. If the ruling goes against public sectors employees, it may trigger protests and further strikes. In any case, public sector unions have already announced tentative plans for a 72-hour strike that could take place as early as next week.

The government has announced that it would comply with the court’s decision.

Context

Beninese lawmakers passed a controversial piece of legislation on December 28, according to which public security forces, health officials, and judiciary officials are prohibited from organizing or participating in strikes. Public-sector employees working in education, health, administration, and transportation (ports) launched a nationwide 72-hour strike on January 16, to protest the law.

There has been mounting discontent among the Beninese population in recent months over the perceived poor management of the country by President Patrice Talon. Benin is currently facing a severe economic crisis, with unemployment at record highs and purchasing power at its lowest in recent memory. As such, civil servant strikes and protests have become common in recent months.

Advice

Individuals in Benin are advised to monitor developments to the situation, to anticipate service disruptions in affected sectors, and to avoid all protests due to the risk of violence. 

On a more general note, some Western governments advise against travel to the far north of the country - including areas along the Nigerien and Burkinabé borders - due to security concerns.

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