Socialist Worker

Public sector strike for higher pay rocks Tunisian government

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2632

Workers on strike in Tunisia

Workers on strike in Tunisia (Pic: FPCGILInternational)


Some 650,000 public sector workers struck in Tunisia on Thursday of last week as part of their campaign for higher wages.

The North African country’s UGTT union has called for another national strike on 17January.

The strikes came as the government is under increasing pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to make more cuts to public spending.

A 2016 IMF loan of over £12billion came with strings attached.

UGTT leader Noureddine Taboubi said negotiations had failed so far because “the sovereign decision is in the hands of the IMF”.

Government cuts have hit working class Tunisians’ living standards. “I can’t pay for my son’s food and studies out of a £240 salary,” teacher Nafisa told the Al Jazeera news website. And the government plans more cuts.

The public sector wage bill stands at 15.5 percent of all the goods and services produced by the country.

The government wants to cut this to 12.5 percent. It would mean poverty for hundreds of thousands. Often whole families rely on one public sector wage.


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