Tunisia’s Top Union Rejects Price, Tax Rises as IMF Talks Resume
Tunisia’s most powerful labor union rejected any attempt to raise the prices of basic commodities or increase taxes, as the North African country resumes talks with the International Monetary Fund on a rescue package.
The UGTT opposes any move that will hit peoples’ livelihoods, spokesman Sami Tahri was cited as saying Wednesday by local broadcaster Shems FM. Separately, he told Mosaique FM that while the union wasn’t opposed to the government talking with the IMF given the economic crisis, trying to enact sweeping reforms would be premature given ongoing political tensions.
Securing the UGTT’s backing is critical before Tunisia’s pushes through any significant steps that might unlock new IMF support. Union opposition has been among the factors hindering earlier attempts by successive Tunisian governments to cut spending and tackle other key issues.
Tunisia, which has struggled with sluggish growth and youth unemployment for the past decade, has been mired in a fresh political crisis since late July, when President Kais Saied suspended parliament and assumed more powers in a move critics dubbed a coup. The central bank has announced the restart of technical talks with the IMF, saying government ministers held a discussion with the lender last week on proposed reforms.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.