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September 07, 2008

Ivory Coast coffee, cocoa marketing body staff strike over pay

Staff from Ivory Coast's coffee and cocoa marketing body BCC have launched an unlimited strike over back pay that is paralysing exports, an official for the BCC body said on September 5.

"The unionists have ransacked" the hall dealing with export operations, leading to a "paralysis" in the coffee-cocoa trade, said senior BCC official Kouassi Konan. But he downplayed the effect of the walkout -- launched September 2 by strikers demanding two months of unpaid salary -- on the organisation's different branches.

He also said the strike had no connection with an ongoing corruption probe that has implicated many top BCC executives.

Still emerging from a civil war, the west African country is the world's leading cocoa producer, with 40 percent of the market share.

Together, coffee and cocoa make up 40 percent of Ivory Coast's export earnings and about one-fifth of its GDP.


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