Jobs safe despite military closures, says Senegal leader
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Senegal’s Prime Minister Souleymane Ndéné Ndiaye has reassured the 3,000 Senegalese working at French military bases in Senegal that they will be able to keep their jobs. France is expected to withdraw three-quarters of its military forces and close the bases, causing Senegalese employers to fear for their jobs.
After meeting with Senegalese workers’ representatives in Dakar on Monday, Ndiaye said on public television that he had told them their jobs were “not threatened”.
He did not have any details of the accord yet which they will sign with France, he added.
Before the 50th anniversary of Senegal’s independence from France, on 4 April, Dakar is to sign an accord with Paris which stipulates the details of the withdrawal of French troops from Senegal.
The announcement to close the military bases was made on 19 February, causing concern among Senegalese civilian staff over possible job losses.
The labour union of the Senegalese workers welcomed Ndiaye's announcement on Monday, saying they felt "reassured" that their jobs were safe.
Meanwhile, the French authorities have been sending out a different signal. Speaking in Libreville on 24 February, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said three-quarters of the current staff, or 900 of the 1,200 soldiers currently in Senegal, would be leaving the country.
An estimated 3,000 Senegalese civilians are working at French military bases, with 400 of them paid directly by the French army.
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