Tunisia workers strike

Tunisia’s Labour Union rejects call for reforms 

The Tunisian General Union of Labour (UGTT) has rejected the demand by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for reforms in the country. 

What reform? 

In response to Tunisia’s request for a loan, the IMF on Wednesday indicated its readiness to start negotiations on the establishment of an aid program but noted that certain conditions must be in place. The conditions, which are aimed at addressing Tunisia’s public finance imbalances, include; “improving tax fairness, limiting the growth of the large civil service wage bill, replacing generalized subsidies with transfers to the poorest, strengthening its social safety net, and reforming money-losing public enterprises”. 

Why is the Labour Union against this? 

Speaking on the subject, Secretary-general of the UGTT, Noureddine Taboubi, said the Union’s opposition to the IMF’s conditions is due to “the low level of wages, the lack of means, and the increase in the rate of poverty and unemployment” in the country. In addition, the Union leader argued that the current government under President Kais Saied does not have the “legitimacy” to hold discussions with the IMF on reforms. 

President Kais Saied, who assumed office in October 2019, has been widely condemned for allegedly working to set the country on the path to a completely autocratic rule. Accused of a power grab since a July 2021 suspension of the parliament and dismissal of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, Saied has also dismissed more than 50 judges, a move he described as a “necessary step” to purge the country’s judiciary of corruption. 

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