Tunisian civil servants strike, protest for pay raises

Tunisian civil servants strike, protest for pay raises
Hundreds of Tunisian public-sector workers demonstrate after failing to reach a wage agreement with the government, Thursday, Nov.22, 2018 in Tunis. The one-day strike was called by the powerful Tunisian General Labor Union.(AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisian civil servants have gone on strike around the country to protest the failure of negotiations with the government for wage increases, amid plunging buying power and soaring inflation.

Thousands gathered Thursday in front of parliament with chants of “shame on the government” and calls to be given their “rights.”

Public institutions, including in far-flung regions, were paralyzed by the strike, although minimal services were provided in hospitals. Only the defense and interior ministries worked regularly.

Tunisia has some 670,000 civil servants, and more than 15 percent of the state budget goes to paying their salaries.

The head of the powerful UGTT union which called the strike, Noureddine Tabboubi, vowed that “we will resist until we get our rights.”

He told protesters, “We’ll get the raises.”