ITUC concerned at Tunisia's 'autocratic' anti-union repression

ITUC concerned at Tunisia's 'autocratic' anti-union repression
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has voiced concern over a wave of repression in Tunisia following a 'coup' by President Saied, with trade unions tuning into another target for authorities.
2 min read
18 January, 2022
President Kais Saied has displayed 'autocratic behaviour', the ITUC's Sharan Burrow said [Olivier Matthys/Getty-archive]

A global trade union hit out at Tunisia and its president, Kais Saied, on Tuesday over the alleged mistreatment of unionised workers, amid rising joblessness and impoverishment.

President Saied removed the country's premier and dissolved parliament on 25 July, before bypassing most of the constitution - actions that have been branded a "coup" by opponents.

Tunisian authorities now appear to be quashing the country's unionised workers.

State TV staff, on strike over the government's unwillingness to renew a collective bargaining deal, faced interrogation from police officers on Thursday, according to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

The worldwide union body said that certain staff were subsequently made to broadcast shows in an attempt to end the strike action.

The ITUC revealed its "serious concern over acts of anti-union repression by the authorities under the control of Tunisian President Kais Saied".

General Secretary Sharan Burrow argued: "The hope that sprang from Tunisia's revolution is being dashed by the autocratic behaviour of the president.

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"Having refused repeated requests from the trade union centre UGTT [Tunisian General Labour Union] to work together on the problems facing the country, he has resorted to violent repression.

Burrow said that the Tunisian union played a key role in the North African country's 2011 revolution and will continue to support workers.

"The ITUC stands with the UGTT and its members and will do all we can to support them, to stop the repression and to ensure that the country does not simply bend to the diktats of the IMF, which would only increase poverty and unemployment," Borrow added.

The ITUC added that assaults, tear gas and other forms of violence were used against protesters on Friday as the nation marked the anniversary of an uprising which ousted long-time dictator Zine Al-Abidine ben Ali.

The organisation said multiple people were "brutally arrested" with some still being held and "facing charges".

Tunisia is currently consulting with its people on a new constitution before a July referendum.