Tunisia’s labor union rejects IMF conditions for economic reform

TUNIS, Tunisia

Tunisia’s powerful labor union on Saturday reiterated its rejection of conditions proposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for reforming the country’s economic sectors.

“We will not accept the painful and harmful conditions imposed by IMF on our country,” Noureddine Taboubi, secretary-general of the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT), said in a speech in the capital Tunis.

Tunisia faces its worst financial crisis and is seeking a $4 billion loan from IMF.

The IMF has asked the Tunisian government to cut subsidies on basic food commodities and services and to regulate the payroll of public employees.

“UGTT does not reject dialogue with the government, but the labor union will not accept participation in any farce dialogue,” Taboubi said.

UGTT plans to stage a general strike on June 16 in protest of the government’s refusal to increase wages.

The UGTT, which has more than a million members, calls for wage increases for state workers as inflation reached a record level of 7.5% in April, from 7.2% in March and 7% in February.

Tunisia has been in the throes of a deep political crisis since July 25, 2021, when President Kais Saied dismissed the government, suspended parliament, and assumed executive authority, in a move decried by opponents as a “coup.” He later dissolved the parliament in March after lawmakers held a session to revoke his measures.

*Writing by Ahmed Asmar

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