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Tunisia government in talks with unions over wages - officials

Public sector wages make up 13.5 percent of Tunisia’s gross domestic product, one of the largest ratios in the world

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Tunisia’s government sought in talks with the powerful UGTT labour union on Monday to reach agreement on a public sector wage freeze to reduce the deficit.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed has made controlling public wage increases part of a broad package of reforms, subsidy cuts and new taxes he hopes will control spending and spur growth, but unions are resisting any salary freeze.

The UGTT last week said it would oppose any proposal to suspend public sector wage increases next year, one of the measures Chahed has said he wants to introduce.

Public sector wages make up 13.5 percent of Tunisia’s gross domestic product, one of the largest ratios in the world. Chahed has promised to push the economic reforms Tunisia’s needs to support its democratic progress since the 2011 uprising toppled autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.