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Feb 7, 2019 | Tunisia

Tunisian government agrees deal with union to avert strikes

By AFP
Workers gather at the headquarters of the powerful Tunisian General Labour Union during a strike on January 17, 2019.  By FETHI BELAID (AFP)
Workers gather at the headquarters of the powerful Tunisian General Labour Union during a strike on January 17, 2019. By FETHI BELAID (AFP)

The Tunisian authorities on Thursday reached a deal with a powerful trade union over wage hike demands to avert a further round of paralysing strikes.

The Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) last month brought the North African country to a standstill with a 24-hour strike by public sector workers to secure wage hikes and economic reforms.

The union said it had "concluded a deal with the government putting an end to the crisis" that would see pay rises worth up to $55 per month (just under 50 euros) for civil servants.

The group said it was now calling off another round of strikes scheduled for February 20 and 21.

Tunisia is seen as having had a relatively smooth democratic transition since the January 14, 2011 toppling of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in power.

But price hikes fuelled by the fall of the Tunisian dinar, combined with tax increases and stubborn unemployment, have spurred social discontent.

In 2016, the IMF granted Tunisia a four-year 2.4-billion-euro loan in exchange for a promise to carry out economic reforms and to control civil service salaries.

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