Tunisian government, unions agree to talks on IMF reform programme


TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia's government and both its main labour and commerce unions agreed on Friday to start talks on Monday over economic reforms required by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a rescue programme.

State news agency TAP reported that Prime Minister Najla Bouden, UGTT labour union chief Noureddine Taboubi and UTICA commerce union chief Samir Majoul had agreed a "social contract" to tackle national challenges, citing a government statement.

The UGTT reposted the statement on its Facebook page.

The labour union, which represents a vast syndicate of workers, has been a staunch critic of IMF economic reforms proposed by the government, including subsidy cuts, a public sector wage freeze and the restructuring of state-owned companies. It previously said, such reforms would increase the suffering of Tunisians and lead to an imminent social implosion.

Tunisia is seeking $4 billion in IMF support amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine, though diplomat sources told Reuters any IMF programme approved would be unlikely to reach that level.

The IMF wants the UGTT, a powerful union that has a million members and has previously paralysed parts of the economy in protest, to formally agree to government reforms.

Efforts to secure the IMF bailout have been complicated by Tunisia's political upheavals since President Kais Saied seized most powers a year ago, shutting down parliament and moving to rule by decree.

Last month, he pushed through a new constitution formalising many of the expanded powers he has assumed in a referendum. Official figures showed that 31% of Tunisians took part, but opposition groups have rejected the figure, calling it inflated.

(Reporting by Angus McDowall; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!
   

Next In World

Burkina Faso president resigns, coup leader says, as army faction seeks Russia support
Iran lawmakers chant 'thank you, police' despite growing public fury over woman's death
Pope begs Putin to end 'spiral of violence and death', fears nuclear war
Zelenskiy declares key town of Lyman 'fully cleared' of Russian forces
Bosnians go to the polls to choose between nationalists and reformists
Prime Minister Truss tries to reassure Britain on economic plan
Latvia to remain Russia's critic as prime minister wins election
Lula leads opinion polls as Brazil votes in tense presidential contest
Florida, Carolinas face daunting recovery after Hurricane Ian
Tired of gridlock, Bulgarians vote in 4th election in less than two years

Others Also Read