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CETU appeals for peace, economic relief amidst conflict and rising costs of living

In a press conference convened today, leaders of the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions urged the government to resolve ongoing conflicts through peaceful negotiations and provide economic support to workers grappling with the burden of increasing living costs (Photo: CETU)

Addis Abeba – The Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU) has called upon the government to address persisting conflicts through peaceful negotiations and offer economic assistance to workers facing the challenges of escalating living expenses.

In a statement issued today, ahead of the forthcoming observance of Workers’ Day on 01 May, 2024, CETU emphasized the significant impact that conflicts have inflicted upon the nation’s labor force.

The union asserted that “a considerable number of workers have tragically lost their lives, been forcibly removed from their workplaces, displaced from their residential and occupational areas, and witnessed widespread destruction of businesses, resulting in unemployment for many individuals.”

The statement notably emphasized the situation in the Tigray region, underscoring that workers in the area “have endured significant life, physical, economic, and social hardships” resulting from the two-year war between Tigray and the federal government.

Although recent peace negotiations have provided some relief, CETU emphasized the importance of resolving lingering issues to forestall a resurgence of “devastating destruction.”

Addressing the conflicts in the Oromia and Amhara regions, the statement emphasized, “Given that warfare does not offer a sustainable resolution, we urge all parties to seek peaceful negotiations to resolve the conflict.”

A significant issue raised by the unions pertained to the exorbitant cost of living, with CETU highlighting that in certain areas, workers are unable to “afford even one meal per day.”

To address this economic burden, CETU called upon the government to decrease employment taxes deducted from salaries.

“We respectfully request the government to consider our plea for a reduction in income tax deducted from salaries,” the statement urged.

Another crucial call highlighted by CETU was the establishment of a wage board to ascertain a minimum wage floor, as stipulated by labor laws.

“The legislation regarding the formation of a wage board has not been ratified by the Council of Ministers; hence, it has not been implemented in practice,” the CETU emphasized.

The union detailed recent engagements with government officials, including Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. It acknowledged some advancements, such as the intention to activate the Employer and Employee Affairs Advisory Board and assurances to safeguard workers’ rights by adhering to the international labor conventions ratified by Ethiopia.

Nevertheless, CETU emphasized the necessity for immediate action concerning issues such as cost-of-living adjustments, minimum wage regulations, and the resolution of conflicts through negotiation rather than resorting to violence. AS

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