The Tunisian General Labor Union’s (UGTT) spokesperson Mongi Abdel-Rahim confirmed that 35 thousand workers from various sectors are scheduled to go on strike on January 25th. The strike is being held to protest the government’s lack of significant action and failure to effectively execute a deal agreed upon in April 2011 that outlawed the recruitment of workers through corporate recruiting companies.
Mr. Abdel-Rahim asserted that, “Eight months after the deal was issued, many companies-such as Telecom, the Tunisian Post, and several hospitals continue to use intermediaries to hire workers with weak contracts.” However, other institutions such as the Caisse Nationale de Securité Sociale (CNSS) respected the deal and are still abiding by it.
Intermediary recruiting, Mr Abdel-Rahim explained, creates inequalities between workers; the workers hired through corporate recruiting companies are deprived of basic benefits such as social security, lunch breaks, and days off during the holidays. In addition, these workers are paid less than minimum wage and generally undergo hard work conditions.
Corporate recruiting companies are active throughout all sectors of the Tunisian economy. According to Mr. Abdel-Rahim, these companies lack any sort of guidelines in Tunisia.
The deal reached in April 2011 was meant to outlaw intermediaries as well as cancel the ongoing contracts made through intermediary companies. Mr. Abdel-Rahim states that this will allow for more favorable work conditions and thus increase productivity.
The January 25th strike is scheduled to last one day. However, if the demands of the workers are not met, the strike may continue for longer.