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.

 

Tunisia votes for president in final leg of democratic transition

Barzani in Mount Sinjar after end of jihadist siege

Egypt President removes powerful spy chief

UAE blames 'irresponsible' non-OPEC output for oil price plunge

Turkey TV regulator fines popular show over ‘dance with foreigners’

Davutoglu accuses EU of 'dirty campaign' against Turkey

Raid on terrorists accidentally kills Saudi youth in Awamiya town

Egypt sentences ‘spy for Israel’ to ten years in prison

Jordan ends eight-year moratorium on death penalty

Turkey acquits sociologist over 1998 explosion

EU foreign affairs head to visit Iraq

Turkey court remands Samanyolu TV chief in custody

IS threatens to kill Lebanese soldiers held hostage

Obama concerned about Egypt mass trials

Tough times for oil-rich GCC

Tumbling oil prices cut budgets of Mideast arms exporters

Iraq’s peshmerga ‘break’ Mount Sinjar siege

Turkish media chiefs charged with terrorism

Iraq may delay payment of Kuwait war reparations

Over $900 million needed to help Syria children

Saudi rules out oil output reduction

Dutch populist lawmaker to be tried for 'fewer Moroccans' vow

Outrage in Algeria over Islamist call for Algerian author's death

Iraq Kurds, coalition launch offensive to retake Sinjar

Three years to end Israeli occupation in UN resolution

Yemen’s Huthis seize Sanaa state offices

Somalia appoints new PM after bitter infighting

Blow to Israel: EU court removes Hamas from terror blacklist

Sharp rise in Syria passport applications

Turkey FM visit to Iran highlights Syria divide

UK troops mistreated Iraq detainees in 2004

Saudi to carry on massive public spending

Iran to Australia: We warned you about the gunman

From bikini to Jihad in Ceuta, Melilla

Tunisia votes Sunday in second round of presidential poll

Islamist militias launch air strike near key Libyan oil terminals

Egypt refers 312 Islamists to military courts

Turkey rejects EU criticism over media arrests

Kerry meets chief Palestinian negotiator

Saudi cleric sparks uproar for showing wife’s face

15,000 march against country’s ‘Islamisation’ in eastern Germany

Key oil producers face uncertain outlook in 2015

Gulf stock markets tumble

Australia mourns Sydney cafe siege victims

Hostages flee as police storm Sydney café