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Tunisia: major union warns about 'unilateral action'

Tunisia Prime Minister Najla Bouden ( L) and Secretary-General of Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), Noureddine Taboubi (R) attend the ceremony in Tunis, Tunisia on May 07, 2022 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

The Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) warned the government yesterday not to take any "unilateral action" on economic reform. The union also denied any knowledge of the agreement concluded between the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In a public statement, the UGTT pointed out that it rejects the lifting of subsidies, cuts in the government wage bill, and extra tax burdens for employees. Nevertheless, its vision remains participatory and it is ready to consider any proposed reforms. "Unilateral action by the government, though, could fuel popular anger and protests," it warned.

Tunisia is about to get the approval of the IMF Board of Directors for a loan of $1.9 billion, to be paid in installments over 48 months, in exchange for a commitment to a package of reforms to revive public finances and boost economic growth. The reforms include the subsidy system, faltering public establishments and control of the government wage bill.

READ: General Labour Union warns government of 'social battle'

"We are calling for the people to have the right to see the secret contracts between the government and international financial bodies," said the union. "Moreover, we are not bound by agreements in which we did not participate."

The IMF has said that it is essential to reach a consensus between the government and its social partners on economic and other reforms.

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