Tunisian PM seeks realistic pay deal with Labor Union

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Tunisia’s government is seeking to agree a realistic pay deal with the UGTT union taking into account public finances, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed said on Saturday.

About 650,000 public sector workers went on strike and thousands joined protests across Tunisia on Thursday over the government’s refusal to raise wages amid threats from international lenders to stop financing Tunisia’s tattered economy.

Tunisia’s powerful union calls new national strike to press wage demands

Meanwhile, Tunisia’s powerful UGTT union called another national strike for January to press its demand for higher wages after the government said on Saturday it would seek a realistic pay deal.

Raising the pressure on the government the UGTT approved plans for a nationwide strike that include public employees and state companies on Jan. 17.

Last Thursday, Tunisians from both the public and private sectors staged the biggest general strike in five years after their powerful trade union failed to secure wage hikes in tense negotiations with the government.

More than 3,000 people gathered outside parliament, responding to calls from the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) for demonstrations.

“The wage increase is not a favour” and “Tunisia is not for sale”, protesters chanted, also employing a popular slogan of the country’s 2011 revolution -- “work, freedom, national dignity”.

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