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PACM Statement on International Workers Day, May 1st

PACM Statement on International Workers Day, May 1st

Freetown: 20th April, 2012The Pan-Afrikan Community Movement (PACM) is a newly formed grassroots Pan-Africanist, community based movement of youths, students, women, employed and unemployed workers in urban and rural Sierra Leone. We stand for the self-emancipation and self determination of the oppressed and exploited Afrikan masses at home and abroad. We are opposed to privatisation, racism, sexism, neo-colonialism, and imperialist proxy wars in Africa. We are part of the worldwide resistance to globalisation and the struggle for global social justice.

Background to International Workers Day,  MAY 1ST.

There is much to study on the history of International Workers’ Day. However, it was clear that it was born from the struggle for the eight-hour day.  ‘In 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labour Unions passed a resolution stating that eight hours would constitute a legal day’s work from and after May 1, 1886. The resolution called for a general strike to achieve the goal, since legislative methods had already failed. With workers being forced to work ten, twelve, and fourteen hours a day, rank-and-file support for the eight-hour movement grew rapidly, despite the indifference and hostility of many union leaders. By April 1886, 250,000 workers were involved in the May Day movement.’

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone, has a long and proud history of workers struggle for dignity and justice. It was in Sierra Leone, in 1874,  where one of the first ever workers strike, took place in the Freetown harbour.  During this strike action, dock workers demanded  better conditions, pay and  rest days. ITA Wallace-Johnson, one of the most renowned trade unionist and Pan-Africanists organised and built trade unions all over West Africa, including Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. ITA Wallace-Johnson also produced the first ever workers newspaper, in 193 …. in Nigeria called the Negro Worker. It is in line with this proud tradition of Sierra Leone’s glorious contribution to workers solidarity that the PACM wishes to make the following declaration:

  • That workers play the most significant role in the economy and wealth creation more than any other sector in the society. It is the wealth created by workers that is appropriated by bosses and the elites.
  • We condemn the leadership of the trade union bureaucracy in Sierra Leone, represented by the Sierra Leone Labour Congress. The Labour Congress has been put in the service of oppressive bosses  rather than fighting for the interests of workers they are supposed to represent.
  • It is shameful, that the labour congress did not make a single statement on the recent mass strike in Bumbuna (Africa Minerals ltd) mining sites in which at least one worker, Musu Conteh was murdered by police thugs.
  • We call on the leadership of the Labour Congress to resign and genuine democratic elections held to elect new leaders that will be accountable to the workers.
  • We call on workers to unite, the only weapon they have is to organise themselves into formidable, democratic and united trade unions to defend their rights and interests.


PACM also notes with deep sorrow, the death of Musu Conteh, the 20 year old worker of Africa Minerals Limited (AML), who was murdered by the Sierra Leone Police, a so-called force-for-good that is killing its own people at the behest of foreign and local profit interests.

PACM demands a commission of Inquiry be set up to investigate the killing and the increase in police brutality against ordinary citizens.  We call on ordinary citizens to organise and defend their democratic rights to peaceful protest and to form workers unions.

PACM, condemns sections of the press that are selling their soul and the future of the country to AML  and other mining interests. We commend those media outlets, especially that stood on the side of ordinary workers who are suffering racial discrimination, bully, oppression, long work hours with little pay and casualisation at the hands of foreign companies, in their own land.

We join the workers in calling for an end to the casualisation of labour and full and equal rights of workers be accorded to Sierra Leonean workers like their white expatriate counterparts. We also support the 13 point resolution of the workers and await government and AML’s action on the actualisation of the workers’ demands.

We call on the workers to understand that they must continue to build fighting unions to defend their interests against the bosses’. The only language that bosses understand is the language of strikes, peaceful protest and occupation of factories and mines.

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