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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 October 25 - 31  > SDF in Djibouti attempts to intimidate base workers protesting over unfair dismissal
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2017 October 25 - 31 TOP3 [SDF]

SDF in Djibouti attempts to intimidate base workers protesting over unfair dismissal

October 26, 2017

Japan’s Self-Defense Force units based at Djibouti, under the name of anti-piracy activities in waters off Somalia, gave a show of force to Djibouti workers at the SDF base who waged a struggle against unfair dismissals, Akahata has learned.

In June 2016, the Defense Ministry changed its contractor for food services at the SDF Base Djibouti. The newly selected contractor refused to employ all 90 Djibouti workers who were hired by the former contractor.

On July 24, the Yokohama-based catering firm announced the termination of the 90 contracts. Following the announcement, a union for Djibouti workers at the SDF base expressed its determination to protest against the dismissal. The union is a member of the major national labor center, the General Union of Djibouti Workers (UGTD).

Meanwhile, on this day at the SDF base in Djibouti, two armed trucks and 30 SDF personnel carrying guns were positioned at the main gate in order to prevent union activists demanding the withdrawal of the 90 workers’ dismissal from entering the base.

The leader of the Djibouti base workers’ union said, “The SDF barred union members from the base and posted the names of active union workers on the main gate. They treat us as if we are terrorists, but we just want to protect our jobs.”

The catering company later agreed with the union to reinstate 70 of the 90 workers in their original workplace but rejected the rehiring of the remaining 20 workers, including union officers.

In August 2016, Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh urged the then Defense Minister Inada Tomomi, who visited the nation to see the SDF base, to address the issue.

In response to an Akahata inquiry, the Defense Ministry denied the allegation that the SDF troops threatened local base workers with armed force. Regarding the unfair dismissal, the ministry said that it lies outside the ministry’s jurisdiction.
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