Corona pandemic, 600,000 Tunisian workers lose their job, unions prepare for new season of protests


Tunisia has been living for days on the heels of successive protest movements led by private workers whose livelihoods have been damaged by the Corona pandemic and unemployed who are tired of the repeated promises of post-revolution governments.

The Tunisian General Labor Union, the country’s largest trade union organization, stated that during the quarantine period more than 600,000 workers lost their jobs due to the Corona crisis, most of whom belonged to the category of non-contracted workers and those with daily wages, similar to small farmers, traders, and workers in the tourism sector who Their work was suspended due to the closure of the inn, hotels, restaurants and cafes.

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The operating organization acknowledges the existence of violations of workers’ rights during the quarantine period in a manner that violates the agreements signed between the government and the Labor Union that allow economic institutions to provide financial assistance to get out of the crisis provided that they are preserved in the workforce, which did not happen in practice as a result of many companies laying off their contract workers , Not to mention the loss of hundreds of their jobs after the curfew was imposed.

The leaders of the Tunisian General Confederation of Labor also deplore the recently issued government circular stating that they will stop the delegations in the coming year and adopt austerity policies that concern workers in the public sector and the public sector, promising to stand in the face of any decisions that affect the rights of their perspectives, whether in the public or private sector.

The Prime Minister, Elias Al-Fakhfakh, had issued at the end of the past week a government publication containing the major directions of the state budget for the year 2021, addressed to members of the government and heads of independent constitutional bodies, governors and heads of public programs.

The publication included recommendations to reduce public spending, most notably the closing of assignments for the year 2021 with the exception of some urgent priority competencies, as well as postponing the completion of new training programs with the aim of assignment for the year 2022, controlling the mass of wages and bringing them down to reasonable rates, postponing promotions, and not saving hours The extra, except for the Ministries of Defense and Interior and the Presidency.

In order to implement the contents of this publication, the Ministry of Finance sent a circular to all ministries that included recommendations to strictly grant production and postpone promotions titled 2020, and limit additional hours, in addition to not concluding any new financial agreement.

Unpublished publication

The repercussions of the Corona crisis, which were not confronted by equitable solutions according to many, and the austerity measures included in the government circular, aroused the resentment of many Tunisians, especially those belonging to the vulnerable groups, from urban workers and unemployed students with scientific degrees and owners of small enterprises and free professions who started to mobilize their ranks to lead Protest movements The main requirement is to preserve the rights of workers, open the door to assignment and settle pending files.

In this regard, a member of the executive office of unemployed certificates holders Haseeb Al-Obaidi told Sputnik that the Corona crisis opened the doors of hope for the unemployed who have reached the point of want and privatization to get around them and activate the employment initiative about those whose unemployment affected and the operation of a member of each family and opened the door Assignments in terms of reference have been suspended for nearly a decade, before their hopes collided with the government circular that freezes the assignments for an additional two years.

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Al-Ubaidi affirmed the absolute rejection of the unemployed certificates to this “unfair publication”, which he considers to be a continuation of the violation of the rights of the unemployed and a deepening of the right to employment.

He added, “We invited our perspectives and all the unemployed who have certificates to mobilize in order to protest and take to the streets in a national movement in which the main requirement is to open the mandate in the public sector and the public sector and stand against this grievance that has been imposed on them for years.”

The spokesman pointed out that these moves come as a response to the government authorities’ disregard of their repeated demands, especially during the quarantine period in which they did not even enjoy a social grant similar to the rest of the vulnerable groups, adding that the government ignored their repeated calls to approve exceptional grants for the unemployed and to open the mandate for assignment in some sectors The exceptional that the Corona epidemic revealed is a severe shortage of its staff, especially the health sector.

Our interlocutor denounced the continuing appointments of advisers at the level of the prime minister in this exceptional circumstance at a time when the government considered that the financial budget affected by the Corona crisis did not allow for the opening of the secondment section.

The unemployment rate in Tunisia is 15.4 percent, according to official statistics, which is equivalent to 700,000 unemployed, including 300,000 holders of university degrees, while other figures talk about the presence of more than a million unemployed, given that Tunisia adopted the optional registration policy in Employment offices, which means that there are hundreds of jobless people outside the official classifications as a result of the absence of employment offices in some regions, especially rural ones, and the weak financial means that prevent some people from being able to register in them.

Escalatory moves

In addition, workers of post-revolution civilizations are engaged in protest movements that have started since May 18 in the governorate of Tataouine and the Bani Khaddash region of the governorate of Medenine in the south of the country and other places, to be followed by a series of escalatory moves starting from Tuesday, June 2, 2020 in the form of a national movement that will include All sides.

This escalation comes in response to the publication No. 16, which calls for stopping the secondments and calling for an acceleration in ending the suffering of years of fragile employment and activating the previously concluded agreement between the Labor Union and the government on December 28, 2019, which calls for the final assignment of workers of post-2010 civilizations.

“This escalation is a natural reaction to the exclusion of urban workers from social assistance, despite the pioneering role they played in various institutions and their volunteering in the face of the Corona crisis, not to mention the The government relinquishes its obligations with the operating organization to approve the suspension of the assignment in the civil service and the public sector.

Al-Zammouri added that the session that was held the day before yesterday between Prime Minister Elias Fakhfakh and the Secretary-General of the Tunisian General Labor Union Noureddine Taboubi with the aim of settling the exceptional files did not lead to radical solutions to end their suffering, considering that the proposals submitted by the government during the session are meager proposals that excluded many of the currency Especially those who started their work before 2011.

He continued, “The government’s proposal included 16,000 individuals from urban workers, while the Labor Union estimated the number of people belonging to this category between 19,000 and 20,000 workers, which prompted us to demand the expansion of the settlement to ensure the rights of all the currency.”

Bankruptcy and imprisonment threaten small investors

In conjunction with this, owners of small and medium enterprises and self-employed people are also leading protest moves to demand that the government innovate in facing the repercussions of the Corona virus, which caused them major financial losses after their activities ceased for months.

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In this context, the president of the Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises, Ziyarat Al-Omari, told Sputnik that many owners of small enterprises and liberal professions with limited financial income found themselves in the face of the unknown, stressing that imprisonment threatens some of them as a result of the inactivity of the government publication to stop all traces And the delay procedures did not cause the accumulation of sukuk cases without a balance referred to the Tunisian judiciary due to the failure to pay the amounts required by the suppliers.

Al-Omari, through his perspectives, demands the revision of the sukuk law without a balance in order to avoid exposure of small investors to such physical obstacles that led them to use the sukuk as a guarantee after banks refused to provide sufficient liquidity to conduct their economic transactions.

Small investors and merchants also demand the government to provide financial credentials to ensure that they continue their activities after the quarantine is lifted and workers ’wages are paid in a manner that guarantees the maintenance of the jobs provided by these institutions.

On Friday, the Central Bank of Tunisia issued a special circular that allows banks from the date of May 29, 2020 to the end of the first month of Kano to allocate new special funds to institutions and professionals to be paid over a period of 7 years, so as to ensure the sustainability of their activities.

Small investors and traders hope that these measures will not be ink on paper and that they will be activated quickly to help them to revive their activities, which represent 90 percent of the national economic fabric and provide an operating capacity of more than 75 thousand workers.

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