Mali financial workers union extends strike

BAMAKO, Mali (Reuters) – A financial worker’s union in Mali on Saturday called on employees of banks, insurance companies, micro-finance institutions and petrol stations to extend their strike until its secretary-general is released from detention.

The National Union of Banks, Insurance Companies, Financial Institutions and Businesses of Mali (SYNABEF) held a strike from Thursday to Saturday after its secretary-general, Hamadoun Bah, was arrested on Wednesday.

In a new statement, it called for employees to continue striking from Sunday.

SYNABEF “decides to continue the work stoppage from June 9 2024 until the full release of our comrade,” it said.

SYNABEF’s former secretary-general, Aguibou Bouare, told Reuters on Wednesday he had visited Bah in prison.

He said Bah was arrested after a complaint was filed by a member of a bank’s union committee, accusing the secretary-general of forging a document related to an internal union matter.

Separately, a coalition of political parties and associations known as the Synergy of Action for Mali has called for protests against the high cost of living and ongoing electricity cuts.

The West African country has been under military rule since a coup in 2020. Tensions have risen in recent months over the authorities’ failure to organise promised elections and their moves to restrict political and civic space.

(Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo in Bamako; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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