Tunisian government closes deal with Trade Union to avoid further strikes

TUNIS, TUNISIA – FEBRUARY 06: Secondary and high school teachers gather to protest for demanding the increases of wages for them, early retirement process and educational reform outside the Prime Minister’s office in al-Qasba Square, Tunis, Tunisia on February 06, 2019. Yassine Gaidi / Anadolu Agency

The Tunisian authorities have reached a deal with a powerful trade union over wage hike demands to avert a further round of paralysing strikes. 

The Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) last month brought the North African country to a standstill with a 24-hour strike by public sector workers to secure wage hikes and economic reforms.

The union said it had “concluded a deal with the government putting an end to the crisis” that would see pay rises worth up to $55 per month (just under 50 euros) for civil servants. 

The group said it was now calling off another round of strikes scheduled for February 20 and 21. 

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Tunisia is seen as having had a relatively smooth democratic transition since the January 14, 2011 toppling of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in power.

But price hikes fuelled by the fall of the Tunisian dinar, combined with tax increases and stubborn unemployment, have spurred social discontent.

In 2016, the IMF granted Tunisia a four-year 2.4-billion-euro loan in exchange for a promise to carry out economic reforms and to control civil service salaries.

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