Tunisia union go on nationwide strike

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Tunisia’s main labor union holds a vast public sector strike Thursday to demand salary hikes and concessions on looming reforms, upping pressure on a president already facing a string of crises.

Up to three million workers could observe the strike, shuttering 159 state agencies and public companies, causing cancellations at airports and bringing public transport, the postal service, and utility firms to a halt.

In a statement on Wednesday, the UGTT union said workers would “hold this strike to defend their economic and social rights after the dithering of the government in the face of their legitimate demands”.

Employment Minister Nasreddine Nsibi said the government reserved the right to “requisition” some workers to allow essential services to operate.

The UGTT was invited to take part in the national dialogue but refused on the grounds that key political forces were not. It also argued that the process aimed to push through “conclusions decided unilaterally in advance”.

The union, a co-laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts in a previous national dialogue in the wake of Tunisia’s 2011 revolution, had originally backed Saied when he sacked the government and suspended parliament.

 

 

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