Sudanese Resistance Committees—the grassroots bodies organising a fightback against the military regime—called a general strike for Wednesday this week. But some committees announced its postponement after severe floods swept parts of the country.
The death toll since the start of the country’s rainy season has climbed to 83, an official said on Tuesday as the downpours continued to inundate villages
The strike’s stated aim was to bring down the military rule established ten months ago through a coup.
The Sudanese Professionals Association, a group organising doctors, engineers, university lecturers and similar groups, had said, “The strike is a form of peaceful resistance to dictatorial regimes, and it means paralysis of state institutions that the military and their allies have robbed and are trying to use to suppress us.”
Repeated mass demonstrations and the defiance from the Resistance Committees have prevented the regime establishing full control. But the state machine continues with its repression. Police and soldiers have killed at least 116 people on pro-democracy demonstrations since last October.
The general strike remains a key weapon. If it mobilised as trade unionists hope, it can break the regime’s plans. And it could link the issue of democracy and political justice with a deepening economic crisis hitting ordinary people.
Spiralling prices have left millions scrambling to afford basic goods, electricity and cooking gas bills, and transport costs. The Mena Solidarity network reports, “That has led to big strikes in some sectors over wages and conditions.
“Teachers across Sudan went on strike and boycotted exam marking in the spring this year, succeeding in forcing some concessions over pay and conditions. There were also strikes by civil servants and bank workers. After years when the trade unions were just arms of the ruling party, new unions are being built from below.”
The health sector also has strong independent union organisation through the doctors’ and pharmacists’ unions which have played a key role in the revolution. On Sunday, the Workers Union branch at the Khashm El Girba Hospital in Kassala gave the state Ministry of Health 24 hours to dismiss the director of the hospital or they would strike.
Workers held the director responsible for the deterioration of health and medical performance and patient care.
Meanwhile in In El Fasher, capital of North Darfur, all hospitals and health centres were closed as staff remained on strike for the fourth week in a row.
Abubakar Omar ,a member of the North Darfur Employees Protest Committee, said the strike goes on until the government pays all wages that are due under the new salary structure, the two Eid grants, and the infection allowance.
Across health services nationally, a new scale of 2022 wages was meant to compensate for inflation. But despite it being August, many workers are still paid their old salaries instead of the increased 2022 wage.
Protesters also closed the Canar oil field in Abyei in West Kordofan on Sunday to demand the development of the area and improved working conditions.
Engineer Habib Debba told Radio Dabanga that a group of non-contracted workers at the oil field and residents of the area south of Muglad blocked the entrance to the oil field.
They demand the development of the area to improve infrastructure and health and education services. They also demand the provision of more and cleaner drinking water. The protesters also demand improved working conditions.
Sudanese activists continue to call for solidarity from the international trade union movement.
The organisers of a sit-in against the gold mining companies in River Nile State sent a message to British trade unionists recently. The Alliance of Demand-based Bodies (TAM), a coalition of more than 70 grassroots campaigns for environmental justice, workers’ and refugee rights said, “We commend the struggles of the British trade unions and support your demands.
“We want to build a movement without borders to raise the demands of ordinary people. The impoverishment of the majority for the benefit of a rich minority is clearly unjust. Big corporations are the source of great misery. Together towards the eradication of colonialism and exploitation.”
For solidarity initiatives and to send messages to the strikers go to bit.ly/Mena2408
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