Tunis — The agreement protocol on the wage increase in the civil service was signed, Wednesday morning in Tunis, following a working session chaired by Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) Secretary-General Houcine Abbassi.
Members of the Government and the Union executive bureau also took part in this meeting. On this occasion, Mr. Jebali said that the Government and the trade union organisation had agreed to preserve the rights of the civil servants by improving their living conditions and purchasing power. "This agreement helps to give some of the country's wealth to the civil service employees," said Mr. Jebali.
The interest of the country and the Tunisians was the major concern of all the parties during these negotiations, he underlined. The Government and the trade union had agreed to strive during the period to come to find solutions to such priority issues as employment and development of underprivileged regions "while taking into account the hard economic situation the country is going through," he asserted.
As regards the negotiations due to start on Thursday on public enterprises and institutions, Mr. Jebali said that "these establishments have serious problems and risk bankruptcy," calling on the social partners to consider the difficult situation of the workers.
For his part, Mr. Abbassi noted that this protocol provides wage increase for 500,000 civil servants out of a total of 2.5 million workers in the public and private sectors. A commission will be established as of Thursday to kickstart negotiations which will close no later than September 30.
During these negotiations, Mr. Abassi said, financial balance and the interest of the nation had been taken into consideration, highlighting the role assumed by the Tunisian administration which continued its activities during the Revolution despite the problems registered in several other sectors.
UGTT Secretary-General urged to lend interest to the key issues at the heart of the Revolution, asserting that the trade union is open to all the initiatives which aim to find a solution to the problem of unemployment.