|04DJIBOUTI1113||2004-08-19 11:40:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Djibouti|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
1. (U) Summary: Members of the Djibouti-Ethiopian Railway
(CDE) union staged two protests the week of August 15th-19th.
Protests on Sunday, August 15th and Wednesday, August 18th
were peaceful and did not result in any arrests. The most
apparent cause of this week's protests is the late payment of
salaries for several months. End Summary.
2. (U) Sunday, August 15th approximately 100-200 railroad
workers marched from the Djibouti City train station to the
Ministry of Transportation in a peaceful demonstration. The
workers were angry at not having received salary payments for
the month of July. The protest dispersed quickly. No
arrests were made.
3. (U) Wednesday, August 18th railroad union workers staged a
peaceful strike intending to block the weekly vegetable
train. Police intervened and negotiated with the strikers to
resolve the issue before the train was scheduled to arrive.
By noontime the strikers and police had seemingly resolved
the situation and the train was able to enter the station.
4. (U) Conversations with Technical Advisor to the Minister
of Transport, Mohamed Ali, indicate that the salaries were
reportedly only one month late and are set to be paid August
19th. In response to Poloff query whether the incidents had
underlying causes, such as the ongoing moves towards
privatization, Ali said that these incidents were merely
discontent over salary issues.
5. (U) Continuing on the issue of the privatization of the
railroad, Ali commented that six companies have been
short-listed for the concession of the Djibouto-Ehtiopian
Railway. The concession is part of a 40 million Euro project
financed by the European Union to privatize the railroad and
turn it over to a private investor. Ali said the
announcement of the winning bid in the concession tender is
expected for the beginning of 2005. Of the six companies
short-listed, two are American: African Initiative 2020 and
Canac, a Canadian railway company that was recently sold to
Savage Companies in early 2004. Dubai Ports International,
managers of the current Port of Djibouti, Djibouti
International Airport and the new Doraleh Port Facility under
construction also appeared on the short list.