Railway workers start two-day strike in Tunisia

The railway workers’ union is protesting a 2012 decision to cancel a route linking the cities of Sfax, Gafsa and Tozeur in the south of the country.
Wednesday 24/04/2019
A file photo shows a train station in Tunis. (Reuters)
A file photo shows a train station in Tunis. (Reuters)

TUNIS – Railway workers in Tunisia started a two-day strike on Wednesday, in the latest stand-off between the unions and the government.

The railway workers’ union is protesting a 2012 decision to cancel a route linking the cities of Sfax, Gafsa and Tozeur in the south of the country.

Trains used to carry phosphate from the mining areas in Gafsa to Sfax, but authorities have shut it down due to sit-ins and protests and replaced it with trucks.

The union said the decision has cost the state-run railway company some 470 million dinars (155 million dollars) in losses.

This is the latest move by the public transport workers, who have been pressuring the government to improve their working conditions and raise their salaries.

The General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT) organised a major strike over wage increases in January, leaving many services paralysed. 

Last week, taxi drivers went on a one-day strike to protest an increase in fuel prices.

Tunisia has struggled with an economic slowdown, public unrest triggered by the 2011 revolt that toppled long-time President Zine Abidine Ben Ali and ensuing attacks by militant insurgents.

The country has been under pressure from international lenders, mainly the International Monetary Fund, to take drastic measures to revamp its economy.

(DPA)