Around 650,000 civil servants went on strike and thousands more came out in support across Tunisia on 22 November to protest the government’s refusal to grant wage increases. Tunisia, which is in the midst of a $2.9bn economic program with the IMF (MEES, 27 May 2016), is under immense pressure to cut its massive public sector wage bill which accounts for just under half of its budget. The strikes went ahead after the government and the powerful Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) failed to reach a compromise.
In late October another round of strikes were averted after Tunis agreed to raise the salaries of around 150,000 state-firm employees in clear violation of terms of the economic program (MEES, 16 November). In the heat of the protests, the government said the IMF had threatened to cut off funding if reforms are not implemented. (CONTINUED - 137 WORDS)