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.

 

Egypt lists Hamas as terrorist organisation

Yemen separatists suspend participation in UN-sponsored talks

Iran shrugs off Netanyahu bid to abort nuclear deal

Jailed Kurdish leader calls on followers to lay down arms

Iraq reopens national museum more than 10 years after looting

Scores dead as car bombs target crowded market in Iraq capital

Dozens dead as Qaeda takes strategic rebel base in Syria

UAE reopens Yemen embassy in Aden

Libya PM threatens new air strikes with Egypt against IS

Qatar takes full ownership of Porta Nuova

Roadmap finally agreed to end brutal Syria conflict

Turkey not placing high priority on fighting IS

IS militants destroy priceless ancient artefacts in Iraq’s Mosul

Aden becomes Yemen de facto ‘political capital’

Qatar emir committed to 'stability' in Egypt despite row

Rouhani adviser blames ‘extremists’ for rights violations

US-led coalition raids IS targets in northeastern Syria

IS executioner identity revealed

3 sentenced to death over Bahrain police killings

Hollande condemns French MPs for meeting Assad

HRW: Kurds preventing return of Arabs to disputed Iraq areas

One dead in series of Cairo bombings

UN Security Council calls for stepping up Yemen talks

Kerry: US, Iran have 'mutual interest' in defeating IS

Australian FM warns women against 'romantic adventure' with IS

Lebanese synagogue gets second life

Netanyahu speech to test resilience of US-Israeli ties

Austria adopts 'Islam of European character'

Tuareg chief issues plea for Mali unity

UN: Saleh amassed between $32-60 billion

Libyan FM warns country could be next Syria

Iran rejects US claims of role in Yemen crisis

French planes on Gulf-based carrier make first strikes

Top US official warns against Netanyahu speech to congress

Four French MPs meet Assad in Syria

FIFA cites 'problems' in worker conditions for Qatar World Cup

Mosque torched near Bethlehem

Egypt TV host faces trial for false bathhouse accusations

Turkey drives hard bargain over crucial missile deal

Obama nominates first US ambassador to Somalia since 1991

Obama praises Qatar as 'strong partner' in fighting IS

Saudi goes hi-tech against IS threat

Sisi grants Egypt authorities sweeping anti-terror powers

Algeria police prevent anti-shale gas protest

Turkey revives Istanbul canal plan