Socotra (Société de Commerce et de Transit), is the name of one of the largest transport companies in Côte d’Ivoire. It has just fired 20% of its staff on Monday, May 4, 2021, or 51 employees out of the 250 that the company has.The reason for this massive dismissal is that at the end of March 2021, the workers of Socotra had decided to form a union to defend their interests but the management categorically refused the formation of this movement. So the workers jumped to the top by filing a strike notice, which resulted in their dismissal for insubordination.
51 Socotra employees were dismissed for fomenting a strike. They found themselves in front of the company’s premises on the Bassam expressway complaining about their working conditions and the regular delay in their pay. We work for two months, we get paid for a month. We don’t have leave, we don’t have gratuities, we don’t have a school loan. A driver can make 25,000, 35,000,” said Ouattara Youssouf, representing strikers.
Socotra employees wanted to set up a union to defend their rights legally and improve their working conditions.However, Samy Mehry, director of the company and also deputy mayor of Lakota, refused to see a trade union movement born in his company. He categorically refused us the creation of a union in his company,” says Ouattara Youssouf.
Subsequently, the 51 employees began a two-day strike but under the threat of the director of Socotra in this case Jessica Tiah. “Those who will, this day, decide to go on strike, you will suffer the consequences.” , she said in a threatening tone on a video addressed to the strikers.Then, at the end of the first day of strike, the 51 strikers, some of whom had been working in Socotra for 19 years, were dismissed for insubordination. ‘There were insubordination reactions towards the Director General, the Operations Directorate and all those responsible who were present at the meeting. In an atmosphere of turmoil in front of their union friends, raising their voices and shouting at the general manager. What we found unacceptable as an administration. The employee can only be subordinated”, according to the legal authority.
However, workers do not intend to let themselves be so easily done. They plan to counter-attack by filing several appeals with the Labour Inspectorate and the Ministry of Employment. Recall that in 2020, a survey conducted in 144 countries by the Trade Union Confederation of Rights ranked Côte d’Ivoire 4th in the category of countries where there are “systematic violations of workers’ rights.”