africa

Tunisia civil servants answer labor union's strike call

General strike by public-sector employees brings life in capital Tunis to standstill

Ali H. M.Ab Rezeg  | 17.01.2019
Tunisia civil servants answer labor union's strike call People wait outside of the Salah Azaiez Institution, which is closed within the strike by employees of public sector, demanding the rise of their wage, after the strike call by Tunisian General Labour Union in Tunis, Tunisia on January 17, 2019. ( Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency )

TUNIS 

A general strike paralyzed daily life in Tunisia on Thursday with tens of thousands of public-sector employees staying home to demand higher wages.

The Tunisian General Labor Union (TGLU), the country’s largest labor union, urged civil servants to take part in the strike after Wednesday talks with government officials failed to produce any breakthroughs.

On Thursday morning, public transport in Tunis appeared largely devoid of passengers, while government institutions failed to open their doors.

On its official Facebook page, the TGLU said the strike -- which went into effect midnight Wednesday -- would also apply to the country’s seaports and aviation sector.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, for his part, has warned that Tunisia would pay a “steep price” for the strike in light of its current economic situation.

Last November, the union organized a similar strike to demand higher wages for members of Tunisia’s roughly 650,000-strong public workforce.

That strike, however, failed to persuade the government to meet longstanding demands for higher public-sector salaries.

Since Tunisia’s popular uprising in 2011, the country has weathered at least three general strikes to protest deteriorating economic conditions.

Tunisia was the birthplace of the "Arab Spring" uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa in early 2011.

Tunisia’s popular uprising forced its authoritarian ruler, Zein Al Abidine Ben Ali, to step down -- and eventually leave the country -- after almost 25 years in power.

Reporting by Adel al-Thabeti:Writing by Ali H. M.Abo Rezeg

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