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The rising tide of opposition to the attempts to steal back the gains of the revolution in Egypt have hit the headlines recently - but the same processes are also unfolding in Tunisia.
Tomorrow, Thursday 13 December, the UGTT (General Union of Tunisian Labour), has called a nationwide general strike, confronting the new regime of the 'Troika' government, led by the right-wing religious party, Ennahda.
This follows a victory in Siliana (South-West of Tunis), where a five-day general strike forced the government to agree to the removal of the local governor. At the same time, national negotiations between the employers’ federation UTICA and the unions have resulted in the bosses conceding a wage increase of 6% in the private sector. These events have helped build workers' confidence against a coalition government more divided than ever, and whose support is declining dramatically - but, like a wounded animal, is also lashing out against opposition. The general strike was called after a rally held by trade unionists in Tunis, in commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of the death of Ferhat Hached, the founder of the UGTT, was attacked by Ennahda militias.
I have received the following reply to a personal message of support that I sent to a Tunisian teachers' union leader:
Merci, très touché par votre lettre de soutien et de solidarité.La lutte continue pour instaurer une vraie démocratie: une démocratie où tout a le droit à vivre dignement, a jouir de sa liberté, une démocratie où il n'y aura plus d'exploitation ni de discrimination. La lutte continue pour que les valeurs de la révolution prédominent.
Thank you. I am very touched by your letter of support and solidarity. Our struggle to establish a true democracy continues: a democracy where everyone has the right to live with dignity, enjoying their freedom, a democracy where there will be no more exploitation nor discrimination. The struggle continues so that the original aims of the revolution can be won.
A united people will win. Long live the revolution.
I was also able to send the following response after asking this morning's meeting of the SERTUC Public Services Commitee if i could send a message on the Commitee's behalf in support of Tunisian colleagues:
J'apporte aussi un message soutien du Public Services Committee of the Southern and Eastern Region Committee of the Trades Union Congress (SERTUC) qui representent tous les syndicats publics du sud-est d'Angleterre. Nous avons vote ce matin a Londres pour envoyer ce message de solidarite pour votre greve generale demain.
Travailleurs - et profs - du monde, unissons-nous !
I also bring a message of support from the Public Services Committee of the Southern and Eastern Region Committee of the Trades Union Congress (SERTUC), representing public-sector unions across South-East England. We voted this morning, at our meeting in London, to send this message of solidarity for your general strike tomorrow.
Workers - and teachers - of the world, unite!
Martin Powell-Davies Chair of the SERTUC Public Services Committee (and member of NUT Executive )
For further information, see the artciles on the CWI website
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