THE International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) has launched a global online campaign for the reinstatement of two Guinean trade union leaders sacked for defending their co-worker who accidentally broke a flower pot.

The employment of the union leaders, Amadou Diallo and Alhassane Diallo, General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary respectively, of the Sheraton Grand Conakry Hotel Union were terminated by their employer on October 7, 2020, a few months after they were elected to lead the union.

In a global campaign for their reinstatement, the IUF is driving an online campaign in a letter to trade unionists and workers across the world to be endorsed and sent to the IFC’s Interim Managing Director/Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer as well as the Acting General Manager of the Sheraton Grand Conakry demanding that the union leaders be reinstated immediately.

In the letter signed by IUF’s General Secretary, Sue Longley, and Massimo Frattini, International Officer; Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism; the global federation of trade unions with members in a variety of industries, many of which relate to food processing, states:

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“Only a few months after winning the union election , Sheraton Grand Conakry hotel union General Secretary Amadou Diallo and Deputy General Secretary Alhassane Diallo terminated by their employer on October 7 for defending their co-worker who accidentally broke a flower pot. Check out the photo petition with over 150 of Amadou and Alhassane’s coworkers who have taken photos with signs demanding that management reinstate their union leaders.

“Please SIGN BELOW to send a letter to the IFC’s Interim Managing Director/Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer as well as the Acting General Manager of the Sheraton Grand Conakry demanding that the union leaders be reinstated immediately.

“The hotel, owned by the Topaz group, was opened in 2016 with a significant investment from the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), an international financial institution that offers investments to encourage private sector development in developing countries at preferential loan rates. The hotel is managed by the largest hotel chain in the world, Marriott, where the IUF has an ongoing global campaign. Despite the IFC’s Performance Standards, a set of rules intended to protect workers, and despite multiple attempts by the IUF to prevent the dismissal of the union leaders, the IFC has chosen to allow violations of its own Performance Standards as well as ILO Conventions 87, 89, 135.

“We also invite you to join IUF and IUF Africa’s Zoom Rally for the Reinstatement of Amadou and Alhassane next Wednesday December 2nd at 4pm CET as part of the Global Week of Action for Hotel Workers. To register for the rally, please contact iuf@iuf.org”

A broken flower pot

According to the IUF, the crisis began on August 18, 2020, when Mohamed Saliou Sampil, a worker at the Sheraton Grand Conakry, accidentally broke a flower pot in the lobby.

On August 26, Sampil was summoned by the management to a pre-termination interview, but the General Secretary, Amadou Diallo, and the Deputy General Secretary, Alhassane Diallo, met with the management to express their serious disagreement with the proposed termination of their colleague. Within days, hotel management suspended the two union leaders without pay.

On September 16, the management terminated Sampil’s employment despite his apology for breaking the pot. On September 28, the union presented a petition signed by majority of the hotel workers in support of Sampil.

However, on October 7, the management terminated the General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary’s employments.

“The IUF will not tolerate such brazen violations of trade union rights, and so the IUF and its affiliates stand ready to launch our campaign for the reinstatement of General Secretary Amadou Diallo and Deputy General Secretary Alhassane Diallo,” says IUF General Secretary Sue Longley.

“We must fight hard together. The importance of this struggle is to stop union-busting, because it kills workers hope and undermines democracy,” adds General Secretary Amadou Diallo.

According to the IUF, “the hotel, owned by the Topaz group, was opened in 2016 with a significant investment from the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), an international financial institution that offers investments to encourage private sector development in developing countries at preferential loan rates. The hotel is managed by the largest hotel chain in the world, Marriott, where the IUF has an ongoing global campaign. Despite the IFC’s Performance Standards, a set of rules intended to protect workers, and despite multiple attempts by the IUF to prevent the dismissal of the union leaders, the IFC has chosen to allow violations of its own Performance Standards as well as ILO Conventions 87, 98 and 135.”

Feature picture (above: General Secretary, Amadou Diallo (pictured right), and Deputy General Secretary, Alhassane Diallo (pictured left), (with their families) were sacked on October 7, 2020.

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