Relief on rice prices fails to end Sierra Leone strike

Workers staging a first-ever general strike in Sierra Leone said, when told that the government had agreed to stabilize rice prices, that they would press their other demands by continuing the walkout.

The strike has brought the nation to a standstill. After more than five hours of negotiations the government was able to reach agreement on only one of the eight demands -- controlled rice prices. Price confrontations have precipitated the fall of governments in both pro-Western Liberia and leftist Guinea-Bissau.

Trying to cope with inflation, estimated at 200 percent, workers demanded price controls on meat, fish, other basic foods, and the prompt payment of wages.

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