The Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA) expressed, in a press release yesterday, its bewilderment by the call for a general strike in the private sector, launched by the regional UGTT of Sfax.
“This call to strike, which involves more than 170 production companies in Sfax, does not take into record the general situation the country is currently going through,” UTICA said. While emphasising its respect for trade union rights, UTICA stressed the requirement to favour the principle of “responsible” and “serious” dialogue which takes into account the singularity of the national situation and prevent appeal attempts.
UTICA underscored its attachment to defending the interests of production companies and protecting, with all legal and legitimate means, the right to freedom of work which should be enshrined in the Tunisian constitution. UTICA has, further, warned against the negative consequences that salary increases could have, stressing that these unstudied and “irresponsible” increases have led, during the last ten years, to the hastening of acute inflation, the decline of the competitiveness of companies, external indebtedness and the imbalance of public finances. This has contributed to the decline of Tunisia’s sovereign rating from B3 to Caa1, calling for the preservation of industrial units against smuggling, anarchic importation and parallel trade.