Sudanese port workers strike, protests continue
In Port Sudan in Red Sea state, workers at the northern port carried out a limited strike yesterday after a call from the Port Workers Union steering committee to demand the cancellation of the Sea Ports Authority’s decision to suspend the committee.
The Ports Authority has suspended the work of the union’s steering committee, citing the presence of more than one party representing workers as its reason.
Port workers told Radio Dabanga that work continued as usual in the rest of the ports. They reported that a number of northern port workers chanted slogans in front of the office of the director of the Sea Ports Authority.
The strike was announced by the union for a period of three days, effective yesterday, and demanded wider representation whilst also resisting the privatisation of the Red Sea state ports.
Pressure on ports
The strikes come at a time where the ports are already under pressure.
The Sudanese Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure said in a statement on Monday that the nine day-long closure of the port in early October resulted in the accumulation of goods in various ports, including Port Sudan, while loading and unloading processes reached new lows after the breakdown of half of the bridge cranes.
The ministry pointed out that many companies are worried about the delay in operations and stated that it is necessary for the port to rapidly improve its performance, especially now that curfews have been imposed and political tensions continue to impact the productivity and psychological state of the port community.
In its statement, the ministry denied that import and export processes have been halted or that foreign companies have left the port. It confirmed that six bridge cranes currently function on medium to low efficiency while the seventh is undergoing serious maintenance at the hands of port engineers and the Defence Industries System engineering unit. Remaining spare parts for the eighth crane have been taken into consideration as well.
The Port Workers Union strike is but one of the current issues of contention. Sudan witnessed various other protests over the weekend. In Port Sudan, people also demonstrated against the increased fuel prices, electricity fees, and the dire services in the city.
In Kordofan, people complained about continuing shortages of fuel. In Kassala, teachers organised a vigil against the replacement of the state Minister of Education. Meanwhile in Khartoum, Ethiopian refugees protested the change of their status.
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