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Tunisia: UGTT Insists on General Strike

Tunisia: UGTT Insists on General Strike

Sunday, 6 January, 2019 - 10:30
Unemployed protesters shout slogans during a demonstration in Tunisia January 14, 2017. (Reuters)
Tunisia - Al Munji Al-Saidani
The Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) officials have affirmed that negotiations with the government were obstructed and that there will be a strike on Jan 17.

According to observers of the local situation, uncontrollable protests and social turmoil might stem from this strike.

The Tunisian government offered, during the last negotiation session, an amount of TND700 million (USD233 million) for the salary raise of public sector employees. However, the union nixed this proposal, justifying that it is not enough to improve the current deterioration in employees' purchasing power.

Notably, this amount did not exceed TND400 million at the beginning of negotiations. Thus, the government sought to increase it due to union officials’ pressure.

Union spokesman Sami al-Tahiri accused the Ennahda Movement of being behind the hindrance of negotiations.

During the past months, several political parties intervened to ease the tension between the government and the union. However, reaching a mid-way solution seemed unlikely as each party was sticking to its stance.

The government admits weak financial resources, and inability to offer huge raises of salaries. On the contrary, the UGTT sees that making significant raise in salaries is a must in light of the deterioration of the purchasing power and the rise of prices.

However, some political parties (including Ennahda Movement) accuse the union of exceeding their tasks and getting involved in politics through backing the call by Nidaa Tounes to oust the national unity government.

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