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Tunisia Labour Union raises alarm over unmet worker needs


The Tunisian General Labour Union has issued a warning regarding the unmet needs of workers in the country, stating that it could lead to a potential social explosion if not addressed.

The union is urging the government to engage in new negotiations to address workers’ demands, specifically related to wages.

Tunisia Labour Union raises alarm over unmet worker needs
Protesters gather in front of The Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) building in Tunis, Tunisia on June 16, 2022 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]
In a recent meeting of its executive office, the union highlighted what it described as a failed economic policy by the state, which relies heavily on leases, speculation, monopoly, and a dominant financial system controlled by banks. This policy, according to the union, has contributed to the worsening economic crisis in the country.

Similar to many other nations, Tunisia has been grappling with the devastating consequences of the global pandemic. Additionally, the country is facing challenges posed by the high cost of importing energy and food, which has been further exacerbated by the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war since 2022.

Tunisian President Kais Saied has voiced allegations that arrested opponents are to blame for the shortage of certain goods and the subsequent inflation, a claim refuted by the opposition.

The labour union is calling for a renewed dialogue with the government to address the pressing issues at hand. It emphasises its rejection of what it perceives as the authority’s attempts to stifle social dialogue, infringe upon the rights of unions, and undermine the credibility of negotiations by failing to implement previously agreed-upon agreements.

The concerns raised by the Tunisian General Labour Union reflect a broader issue faced by workers in many countries. As the global pandemic continues to impact economies worldwide, numerous workers have experienced significant disruptions to their livelihoods. The increasing costs of importing essentials like energy and food have further added to the burden faced by individuals and families.

Tunisia Labour Union raises alarm over unmet worker needs
Tunisia Labour Union raises alarm over unmet worker needs.

The situation in Tunisia serves as a stark reminder of the importance of addressing workers’ needs and concerns. Failure to adequately respond to these issues can lead to social unrest and instability. It is crucial for governments and stakeholders to engage in meaningful dialogue with labour unions to understand the challenges faced by workers and work towards finding appropriate solutions.

The agreement reached on 15 September 2022 between the Union and the government resulted in a 3.5% increase in wages for state employees.

Despite this, the union has made multiple requests for new negotiations to reassess the minimum wage, but no response has been received from government officials. At this time, there has been no official statement issued by the government regarding these matters.

The Tunisian General Labour Union’s call for reopening negotiations underscores the necessity for open and transparent communication between the government and workers’ representatives.

This approach can help foster trust and cooperation, leading to the development and implementation of policies that address the needs of workers without compromising the overall economic well-being of the country.

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