Rail Sans Frontière
and regional rail workers’ network
The union movement in Senegal is mainly present (as in the other
countries of the region) in the public sector. As consequence of
the foreign debts and the structural adjustment policies demanded
by the international financial institutions, privatisation is one
of the key changes in the countries of the region. This process
also involves a form of ‘re-colonisation’ as French
companies like France Télécom, SNCF, Electricité
de France, etc. often buy majority stakes in the new private companies.
?The official labour movement consists of three labour centres:
the ‘Confederation Nationale des Travailleurs du Senegal’
(CNTS); ‘Coordination des Syndicats Autonomes’ (CSA)
and ‘Union Nationale des Syndicats Autonomes du Senegal’
(UNSAS). Co-operation between the three centres is seldom because
of political disputes.
Since 2000 TIE together with French SUD Rail activists is in contact
with grass-roots activists from all three centres. Together we organise
activities to initiate genuine and democratic trade unionism. The
union practice in Senegal, as in most (African) countries has a
lot of internal problems concerning real democracy and participation
from the members. Often the union structures don’t work: members
have little influence on the policies of the unions. As a result,
there is for instance little resistance from the union leadership
towards the social consequences of the re-adjustment programmes,
Concretely the work of TIE involves working with and supporting
workers who are part of already existing (international) networks
in the public sector like railway, post, telecom and education
in order to strengthen these cross-union networks and so enabling
the Senegalese labour movement to bundle its powers.
Also TIE is involved in setting up a ‘worker centre’
in Dakar as an independent space where workers can meet, exchange
experiences, use computers, get consultation and capacity building
Lastly, we are also involved in building up and supporting a network
of workers and activists against the railway privatisation in West
Africa. This network consists of rail workers and
activists from railway unions in the different parts of West Africa.
Outside of Africa the network cooperates with rail unions in Europe;
in French, Spain, Great Britain and Germany.
For earlier activities related to this project, see our Activities Archive