First Published: 2012-12-11

 

Tunisia general strike stirs Ennahda’s worries: Government in talks with UGTT

 

Government holds talks with main trade union confederation in bid to find compromise to avoid rare nationwide strike.

 

Middle East Online

Tunisians disappointed, Islamists worried

TUNIS - The Tunisian government was locked in talks with the main trade union confederation on Tuesday in a bid to find a compromise to avoid a rare nationwide strike, the union said.

Meanwhile President Moncef Marzouki postponed trips to Poland and Bulgaria scheduled for this week as tensions mounted ahead of the strike which the UGTT has called for Thursday, his office said.

"The talks concern the demands of the General Union of Tunisian Workers and if a compromise can be found, we could call off the strike," Ghassen Ksibi, a spokesman for the UGTT, said.

Negotiations will resume on Wednesday if talks fail to reach a compromise, he added.

The UGTT called the strike amid tensions with the ruling Islamist Ennahda party following what the union said was an attack by the party's supporters on a union demonstration in Tunis.

A union leader said the UGTT demands the dissolution of the pro-Ennahda League for the Protection of the Revolution, which it accuses of carrying out last week's attack.

UGTT deputy secretary general Belgacem Ayari told the state news agency TAP that a solution to the crisis could be possible.

"There are signs of a detente, the possibility of finding a solution," he said, adding that talks on Tuesday were being held in a positive climate despite a failure at the weekend to make progress.

The December 13 general strike is to be held on the eve of the second anniversary of the revolution that ousted veteran strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, amid rising social and economic tensions in the country.

Many Tunisians feel bitterly disappointed by the failure of the revolution to improve their lives, especially in the marginalised interior which suffers from a chronic lack of development and high unemployment.

Clashes, strikes and attacks, including by hardline Islamists, have multiplied across Tunisia.

The nationwide strike call is only the third to be made by the half-million strong UGTT since its foundation in the 1940s.

Observers fear that if the strike goes ahead it could spark fresh violence.

Those concerns have prompted the Tunisian president to postpone visits to Poland and Bulgaria from Thursday to Saturday, a statement from his office said, citing the "delicate situation in the country and political friction."

Marzouki will "strive to reduce the tensions," the statement added.

 

UN council votes to bring back full Western Sahara mission

UN rights chief calls Syrian crisis 'shameful realpolitik'

Air strike hits clinic in rebel-held Aleppo

South Sudan unveils unity government

Aleppo mourns paediatrician killed in air strike

US, Russia 'agree freeze' on two Syrian fronts

Libya unity government vows to end jihadist 'scourge'

Turkey demands 5 years jail for UK academic over 'terror propaganda'

UK pair accused of giving money to Brussels, Paris attacks suspect

Turkey says Bursa bomber linked to PKK

Kuwait steps up deportations of expat workers

Iranians vote in second round of parliamentary elections

Palestinians support, Israel opposes French peace initiative

Biden in surprise Iraq visit to support embattled government

MSF condemns strike on Aleppo hospital

Lifeline to millions in Syria 'may be broken' as violence intensifies

Turkish journalists get two years for publishing Charlie Hebdo cartoon

Greece making 'incredible effort' to tackle migration issue

Iraq shuts Al-Jazeera bureau for 'instigating violence and sectarianism'

Syria regime readies for major Aleppo offensive

Israel nuclear reactor defects spark secrecy dilemma

Suicide bomber targets Aden police chief

Death toll in Syria's Aleppo rises despite UN truce plea

Italy to introduce migrant fingerprinting at sea

UN envoy plans to hold another round of Syria peace talks

US proposes full restoration of Western Sahara mission

27 Yemeni soldiers dead in key offensive

Global press freedom drops to lowest level in 12 years

Constitutional amendment grants Jordan king more powers

Suicide bomber blows herself up in Turkey northwestern city

Austria adopts one of EU's toughest asylum laws

Netherlands warns no safety 'guarantees' for visitors to Turkey

Battered Aleppo residents ask: Where is Syria ceasefire?

Libya kidnappers release Serbian worker

Sinai bombing kills three Egypt policemen

UAE considers tough safety code after skyscraper fires

UNESCO says Palmyra retains 'authenticity' despite damage

Khamenei says US 'fomenting Iranophobia'

Russia applauds cooperation with US on Syria

Etihad Airways sees $103 million profit in 2015

Russia asks UN to list Syria rebel group as 'terrorist'

2 Palestinians shot dead at checkpoint

Turkey PM pledges draft constitution will guarantee secularism

Greece returns 49 migrants to Turkey

Nearly quarter of Iran's parliament seats at stake in election run-off