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Sudanese Professionals Association rejects junta decision on trade unions

May 24 - 2019 KHARTOUM
Judges protest in Khartoum (File photo)
Judges protest in Khartoum (File photo)

The decision last week of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) to cancel the freezing of the trade unions has been rejected by the Sudanese Professionals Association on Thursday. “It is a rebellion serving the agenda of the counter-revolution, and a return to tyranny.”

The work of the trade unions and professional syndicates, that were close allies of the government over the past decades, was suspended after the junta ousted former President Omar Al Bashir last month. The TMC announced in a statement on Wednesday that the suspension of trade unions and syndicates was lifted, “for the protection of public and private interests”. “These organisations should be unblocked in accordance with international charters”, it was said.

The current trade unions and syndicates were set up in the 1990s, after the former independent trade unions were abolished soon after Al Bashir’s military coup in 1989.

The intifada of 1985 against the Jaafar Nimeiri government was led and organised by trade unions. Al Bashir’s new regime suppressed any opposition. With the 1992 Trade Unions Act, the unions and syndicates were stripped of their rights. Independent unions were no longer allowed to exist.

‘Unions of the establishment’

The Sudanese Professionals Association, the leading force behind the current uprising, said in its statement on Thursday that it rejects the “unions of the establishment”, explaining that these unions do the opposite of real union work. It called on employees and workers at all institutions and workplaces to complete the formation of steering and preparatory committees to restore independent trade union activity.

The preliminary committee for the restoration of the Sudanese Journalists Union also rejected the decision of the Transitional Military Council. In a statement on Thursday, the committee said that the unions and syndicates of the former era were “merely partisan tools used by the former regime to eliminate its political opponents”.

The committee repeated its demand to immediately dissolve the press union and confiscate its assets.

Central Bank of Sudan

Members of the workers union of the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) and the Sudanese Organisation for Standardisation and Metrology have announced their resignation after the decision to cancel the freezing of trade unions.

The CBoS employees  accuse the Transitional Military Council of trying to create a clash between officials by its decision. They explain that the members of the union have cut the way to the Transitional Military Council by tendering their resignation and confirming their support for the steering committees.

Campaign of consultation

The Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC) announced on Thursday the launch of a campaign of consultation about the current developments, aimed at all the people in Sudan. Leaders and members of the AFC will visit the sit-ins, tents, stages, and barricades.

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