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Tunisia labour union will not be shaken by political changes

March 15, 2023 at 11:50 am

Secretary-General of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) Noureddine Taboubi on February 19, 2021 [FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]

The Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) has maintained its independence for decades and will not be shaken by the events of 25 July 2021 and the steps being taken to damage the union since, a senior official has said.

UGTT Secretary-General, Noureddine Taboubi, told Mosaique FM that the union has always been a force for good in the difficult times that the country has experienced, adjusting the compass towards national files.

“For those who want to drag us into a clash, we are not the people of a clash. Rather, we are a force of goodness, suggestion, argument, persuasion and responsibility. We do not sow sedition, but rather we represent the comprehensive umbrella that all the oppressed resort to, in addition to everyone who believes in social justice, human rights, public and individual freedoms, and freedom of expression,” Taboubi added.

Taboubi emphasised that the UGTT will remain a strong barrier and a solid rock that thwarts all conspiracies.

Taboubi stated that each party has mistakes and that the country’s supreme interest requires each party to carry out revisions and move towards reforms to attract all Tunisians.

He confirmed that ending the deteriorated situation in the country requires sitting at the negotiations table with honesty and transparency, commitment to the controls and ethics of talks and seriousness.

READ: Tunisia opposition leader says no surrender until ‘coup’ is toppled

On 25 July 2021, Tunisian President Kais Saied cited Article 80 of the constitution to dismiss Prime Minister Hicham Mechichi, freeze the work of parliament for 30 days, lift the immunity of ministers, and appoint himself as head of the executive authority until the formation of a new government.

This came after violent protests broke out in several Tunisian cities criticising the government’s handling of the economy and the coronavirus. Demonstrators had called for parliament to be dissolved.

He appointed a prime minister on 29 September of the same year and a government has since been formed. In December, Saied announced that a referendum will be held on 25 July to consider ‘constitutional reforms’ and elections would follow in December 2022.

The majority of the country’s political parties slammed the move as a “coup against the constitution” and the achievements of the 2011 revolution. Critics say Saied’s decisions have strengthened the powers of the presidency at the expense of parliament and the government, and that he aims to transform the country’s government into a presidential system.

On more than one occasion, Saied, who began a five-year presidential term in 2019, said that his exceptional decisions are not a coup, but rather measures within the framework of the constitution to protect the state from “imminent danger”.

Is Tunisia's president Kais Saied like Louis XIV, King of France? - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Is Tunisia’s president Kais Saied like Louis XIV, King of France? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]