Damage to UGTT offices after attacks. Photo UGTT
Tunisian unions fight harassment and economic mismanagement
UPDATE: after meeting with the Government on Wednesday, the UGTT decided to call off Thursday’s general strike.
This Thursday, the embattled Tunisian trade union movement, the UGTT, will stage a general strike. It’s a brave and defiant response to twin failures by the moderate Islamist government, who have failed to rebuild the economy and failed to rein in more extreme Islamists who have recently stepped up violent attacks on the independent trade union movement.
On Tuesday 3 December, the headquarters of the UGTT in Tunis came under physical attack from a militia close to the ruling islamic Ennadha party. The aggressors used stones, swords and teargas bombs. In response to this and continyung economic problems, UGTT activists have already protested, and there will be a nationwide action on Thursday.
The nationwide strike call is reported to be only the third to be made by the powerful UGTT since its foundation in the 1940s. The first was in 1978 and the second on 12 January 2011 – two days before the fall of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s regime.
The TUC – like many trade union movements, and both the ETUC and ITUC – has sent a message of solidarity. We are appalled by the violence directed at our brothers and sisters, who took the lead in fighting for democracy in the Arab Spring, and continue to fight for an open society and an economy that works for ordinary people.