A glance at current developments in the West African state of Cote d’Ivoire will serve to remind us of the raw class-against-class essence of ‘industrial relations’ when the gloves come off.
The PCRCI (Revolutionary Communist Party of Cote d’Ivoire) reports that the comprador government of President Alassane Ouattara is responding to popular unrest with the most brutal repression. The most recent victims of this are customs officers engaging in a peaceful strike over backpay, increased workload and other issues.
When their union called them out on strike on 17 and 18 October this year, the government responded by mobilising hundreds of police to do battle with the customs officers. Because the government panicked and dealt with a common strike as if it were an insurrection, many serious injuries and arrests ensued.
This draconian action comes after earlier arrests and beatings suffered by students fighting against corruption in the educational sector and peasants protesting over the slump in cocoa prices. (See Déclaration relative à la répression sauvage du pouvoir Ouattara sur les douaniers de Côte d’Ivoire en grève pour de meilleures conditions de vie, report by Achy Ekissi, secretary general of the PCRCI, 19 October 2017)
Behind Ouattara’s comprador regime lies the not-so-hidden hand of French and US imperialism, whose companies dominate the ‘liberalised’ Ivorian economy.