Congo university strike ends after four months


Student hold signs while a police officer addresses them during a protest for the fees at the Catholic University of Graben in Butembo, east of DR Congo on November 12, 2016. The direction of the university has called for a 10% hike in student fees.

BRAZZAVILLE A four-month strike at Congo&39;s sole public university ended Monday with staff resuming work after being paid arrears for three months and agreeing to further negotiations over unpaid wages.

"In the interest of the nation... work is resuming on Monday January 8," a statement by the union of teaching and administrative staff sent to AFP said.

Unions began the strike in September to demand the payment of quarterly subsidies totalling 1.2 billion CFA francs (1.8 million euros, $2.1 million).

They also sought the payment of salary arrears.

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"Three months of salary arrears have been paid as well as 50 percent of the allowances for overtime in 2015-2016. We still have to be paid for three more months," said Didier Galebaye, spokesman for the union.

"We suspended the strike because the solution proposed allows us to continue negotiations," he said.

On Monday, university staff put up exam schedules and extra classes to make up for lost time. The country&39;s main hospital has also seen a series of strikes in 2017.

Congo is going through an economic crisis due to falling prices of oil, its main export, and is in bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Indebtedness amounts to 117 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).