Tunis/Tunisia — "The administrative committee of the Tunisian General labour Union (UGTT) will convene on January 19 and will make decisions up to the expectations of Tunisian workers who have advocated for their rights," UGTT Secretary General Noureddine Tabboubi said on Thursday.
The current government has failed at all levels, he indicated in an address before a rally of civil and public servants who are on a general strike outside the UGTT's headquarters in Tunis.
This government has deepened the economic and social crisis through the increase of prices, deterioration of the Tunisians' purchasing power and their impoverishment at a time in which the country records an indebtedness rate of 70%, he explained.
In this regard, Tabboubi specified that 1.8 million Tunisians today do not have drinking water, 300 thousand do not benefit from public lighting, 150 thousand families live in slums, in addition to 2 billion dinars tax losses per year.
"The workers will not pay the bill as they already pay 75% of tax receipts," he shouted, affirming the union's determination to spare no effort to defend the workers' right to a decent life.
"The rights are wrenched not acquired," he indicated.
He specified that the UGTT does not demand wage increases, but a readjustment of the purchasing power that has seriously deteriorated.
Besides, Tabboubi added that the smear and demonisation campaigns of the union will have no impact on the UGTT that will remain a regulation force capable of defending the national choices and the right of all Tunisians to a decent life.
He also denied that the strike had been decided by the UGTT under pressure by left-wing parties, recalling that the union will always defend the Tunisian people and deprived categories.
Tabboubi underlined that the success of the general strike is a strong message to the government which should listen to the complaints and demands of its people and not to be subject to foreign diktats.
In this regard, the trade union official denounced the publication of the requisition decision, specifying that it has no effect since the UGTT had taken all the necessary measures to ensure a minimum service in the vital sectors.
Tabboubi called the workers to massively participate in the forthcoming political events and to sanction through their votes the parties who have not honoured their commitments and have deepened the crisis and the deterioration of the Tunisians' purchasing power.
As regards the wage increases in the civil service, the union S-G said that the UGTT will not accept increases that exclude the retirees.
"We will continue to struggle to defend the retirees' rights and fight against all forms of precarious employment," he affirmed.