Tunisia's government has proposed a ten per cent cut in the civil servants' wage bill, Secretary General of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), Noureddine Taboubi, announced yesterday.
"The Tunisian government, which says in public that it would be able to fulfill all its obligations to the people, has told us in closed-door meetings that it cannot pay public salaries," Taboubi said in a statement, stressing the UGTT was "strongly rejecting the government proposal."
Taboubi pointed out that the state's proposal was presented by government officials in a recent meeting with the union as part of a "government economic programme."
The programme, he explained, had stipulated on "freezing public salaries for the next five years, lifting subsidies on commodities, and privatising public enterprises."
Tunisia's economy was negatively hit by the coronavirus pandemic, leaving the government stumbling to fund its budget and repay its debts.
In recent months, the government restarted talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a rescue package.
Foreign donors and the IMF have repeatedly called for "broad support" for economic reforms in the North African country.