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Tunisia’s Ennahda: Consensus possible to avoid general strike

Tunisian high school teachers attend a demonstration demanding wage increases and improvements to their working conditions, in front of Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) in Tunis, Tunisia on January 9, 2019 [Yassine Gaidi / Anadolu Agency]
Tunisian high school teachers attend a demonstration demanding wage increases and improvements to their working conditions, in front of Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) in Tunis, Tunisia on January 9, 2019 [Yassine Gaidi / Anadolu Agency]

Tunisia’s Ennahda movement said on Thursday that a “consensus solution” between the government and the Tunisian General Labour Union is still possible to avoid a general strike.

This sentiment was expressed in a statement of the Executive Office of Ennahda Movement – which constitutes 68 deputies out of 217-member ruling coalition – a week before a general strike, called for by the union in a bid to raise wages, is slated to take place.

In the statement, Ennahda explained that: “The chances of reaching a consensus between the government and the Labour Union regarding the increasing of wages in the public service sector are still possible, considering the two sides’ insistence on negotiation and keenness to spare the country social tensions amid efforts made by many parties.”

The statement added that President Beji Caid Essebsi is at the forefront of those parties seeking a solution to the crisis, Anadolu Agency reported.

In December, the Tunisian General Labour Union – the largest labour union in the country – called for a general strike in public institutions and the public sector on 17 January in a bid to raise wages.

Read: Ennahda denies Ghannouchi’s nomination for Tunisia’s presidential elections

Discussing the political situation in Tunisia, Ennahda’s statement expressed the party’s appreciation for “the consensus reached by the movement with the rest of the parliamentary blocs, which is to hold a parliamentary session to complete the election of three members to fill vacancies in the Independent High Authority for Elections, and to elect its chairman in the same session.”

Ennahda expressed its belief that the parliament’s success in electing the Independent High Authority for Elections’ members will give “a strong message to Tunisians about the importance of the electoral benefits in completing the democratic process”.

Yet Ennahda also expressed its “deep concern about the tense social conditions” in a number of Tunisia’s provinces, adding: “This requires the mobilisation of the government to immediately activate the planned projects, and take concrete measures to promote positive discrimination and reduce the unemployment rates.”

The movement also called on citizens to participate in the events commemorating the  anniversary of the Jasmine Revolution, eight years after it took place on 14 January 2011.

Read: Tunisian opponent: we need to unite protests to overthrow government

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