In a country where economic indicators are red, “the powerful” labor organization, UGTT, embarked on Thursday, January 17, 2019 all its affiliates in a nationwide general strike, thereby paralyzing all services like transport, education, hospitals, and administrations.
The union has not bothered to put a spoke in the wheels of Prime Minister Youssef Chahed because of his stubbornness to tighten the purse-strings.
Everybody knows the robustness and the weight of the UGTT in the country, and therefore its capacity to cause damage. It is one of the few union organizations in the world to sit at the table of policymakers, and even to speak very often stronger than the latter. A Tunisian specificity!
For years, the labor organization has misused this power, by blocking for example the revival of the country through untimely strikes and unreasonable wage demands given the state of public finances.
The unions are a real pressure group that leads the country a little more every day to its loss.
So question: Is it conceivable to kneel in front of people who want to destroy at all costs a country that is already dying? Definitely, old habits die hard!
Tunisian experts sounded the alarm about the impact of the strike on the country’s economy, particularly for the public sector and civil service. It concerns more than 166 institutions and administrations, 24 ministries as well as 42 state enterprises.
Likewise, it will not only affect the public sector but also all the private companies that have daily operations with the administration. They estimate that the cost of no strike, i.e. the wage increase, will aggravate inflation and the depreciation of the dinar.
Moreover, Houcine Dimasi, a former finance minister and former economic adviser of the UGTT, warned against this protest movement, saying the general strike of the civil service will cost the state 400 million dinars.
Tunisia is unfortunately dried up to the core since the era of the Troika and economically weakened by too many strikes and blockages of production centers fundamental for its economic and budgetary balances; it is today unable to honor its commitments to an increasingly vulnerable population: the poor, the unemployed…
Eight years after the revolution, the rulers have still not provided a strategic and structural response to the real roots of instability of the country, which is caught in a vicious circle and has trouble getting out!