Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Austerity Measures in Tunisia Result in Nationwide Strike of Public Sector Workers

On Thursday, January 17th the powerful Tunisian General Labor Union, the UGTT, led a 24-hour strike of public sector workers to coincide with the anniversary of the 2011 uprising known as “The Jasmine Revolution”.

Jamila Hammami

January 31, 2019
Facebook Twitter Share


This strike followed an earlier one-day stoppage in November 2018. As the main union federation in the country, the UGTT was a vital force in the Jasmine Revolution and again they are fighting for workers’ justice.

The UGTT is demanding that 673,000 state employees, a sixth of Tunisia’s workforce, receive wage increases that are equitable to those provided in 2018. This increase would equate to 270 dinars more per month, or $91, while the government has offered only a measly 80 dinars or $27 per month.

After nearly 100 negotiation meetings there is no settlement; the government remains intransigent while the workers remain determined to win the wages they deserve. And so the workers turned to one of our strongest weapons, the strike.

The strike derailed business as usual across the whole public-sector on Thursday, creating complete chaos in public education, to transportation, air traffic, government offices, hospitals, ports, state media, and more. While the protest was only 24 hours, the UGTT regrouped the following Saturday to discuss escalation tactics until their demands are met.

The UGTT strike and further escalation are in direct response to austerity measures taken by the Tunisian government at the behest of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Like many countries throughout the world in need of loans, the Tunisian ruling class turned to the IMF, which then demanded lower public sector wages to balance the budget. Officially, the UGTT is negotiating with the Tunisian government, but having seen the government repeatedly halt talks to consult with the IMF, the UGTT has requested to negotiate directly with the real power behind the government, the IMF.

Since the strategic regrouping January 19th, the UGTT has criticized the Tunisian government for accepting a 2.4-billion-euro loan which will only lead to additional austerity. UGTT has called for more strikes for February 20 and 21, with the same demands.

The “Jasmine Revolution”, also known as the Tunisian Revolution, was ignited when a fruit street vendor – Tarek el-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi – immolated himself in protest of the harassment he received from a municipal officer who refused his right to make a living. This act inspired other Tunisians to rise up in anger against the lack of employment and extensive corruption that has been an ongoing issue in Tunisia for decades. The revolution lasted 28 days, and eventually ousted the president of 23 years, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, on January 14th, 2011. The “Jasmine Revolution” spread across the region, sparking the Arab Spring.

Facebook Twitter Share

Labor Movement

Three tables full of food, with signs hung above them. One says "The People's Pantry: FREE FOOD." Banners hung from the tables say "Free CUNY" and "Cop Free School Zone"

CUNY Administration Cracks Down on Student and Worker-Run Food Pantry

Students and workers opened "The People's Pantry" seven weeks ago as part of a broader anti-austerity campaign at CUNY, leading to several direct confrontations with the administration.

Olivia Wood

March 19, 2023

Temple’s Grad Worker Strike Ends with Important Victories 

The last report on the strike from a union teacher at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Jason Koslowski

March 17, 2023

Teachers and Education Workers Set to Strike! Tens of Thousands Rally in Los Angeles 

A three day strike was announced by two education unions at a rally attended by tens of thousands of members. The workers are calling for increased wages, reduced class size, and an end to harassment by their employers.

Julia Wallace

March 17, 2023
A sign drawn on a small whiteboard, in trans pride colors. Text: "CUNY Graduate Center and Professional Schools Workers for Trans Rights" Beneath the text is a chain of 9 smiling stick figures in different colors, all holding hands

CUNY Union Chapter Unanimously Passes Resolution in Support of Trans Rights

The Graduate Center chapter of PSC-CUNY, the faculty, staff, and graduate worker union of the City University of New York, passed a resolution pledging support to all workers fighting the anti-trans bills nationwide.

Olivia Wood

March 12, 2023


“Lesser Evil” Biden Wants More Border Patrol Than MAGA Republicans

Over the weekend, Biden bragged about his support for even more resources than “MAGA Republicans.” to “secure the border” on Twitter. This is “lesser evilism” in action.

Molly Rosenzweig

March 28, 2023
Customers clear shelves of water Sunday at Fresh Grocer in West Philadelphia.

A Chemical Plant Just Poisoned Philadelphia’s Water: A First-Hand Account of the Crisis

A company dumped thousands of gallons of poisonous chemicals into Philadelphia’s drinking water. This is an on-the-ground account by a Philadelphia worker and socialist.

Jason Koslowski

March 27, 2023
A group of protesters, in the front of whom are a line of protesters wearing red vests. In the front right corner, a white sign reds "vive la retraite," with a skeleton wearing a red hat in the middle of the sign on a black background with a text bubble on its left that reads, "oiv a bosse, c'est pas pour en crever!"

“French March”: The Right to Revolutionary Optimism

Evoking memories of '68, the students enter the fight against Macron. In our chaotic world, the future can only be built in the streets.

Eduardo Castilla

March 26, 2023

Joe Biden Is Deporting Russians Who Escaped Putin’s Draft — Let Them All In!

The United States is deporting Russians who sought asylum following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This is a heinous attack against war resisters and shows that the proxy war in Ukraine is about capitalist rivalry first and foremost.

Sam Carliner

March 26, 2023