Tunisia: Democratic transition in danger – UGTT under attack


The ETUC Executive Committee, meeting on December 5 in Brussels, strongly condemns aggressions against the national trade union centre UGTT, its militants and its assets. ETUC calls on the Tunisian government to fully comply with its obligation to guarantee security to all parties in civil society and to stop backward and reactionary forces seeking to destabilise the country and to block Tunisia's road to democracy. The ETUC Executive Committee calls on the EU institutions to imropove and intensify their relations with the Tunisian social partners, recognising that social dialogue is a crucial prerequiste for Tunisia's future.

On Tuesday, December 3, the headquarters of the UGTT came under physical attack from a militia close to the ruling islamic Ennadha party. The aggressors used stones, swords and teargas bombs. One of their slogans was: "Dissolution and purification of the UGTT".

The aggression took place on the day when the UGTT commemorates the assasination of their historical leader Ferhat Hached. UGTT militants were hurt and hospitalised, among them members of the Executive Bureau. The UGTT has been repeatedly the target of aggressions conducted by both islamic extremists or partisans of the Ben Ali regime.

The UGTT headquarters, situated on a historical place in the center of Tunis, was the starting point of practically all demonstrations that finally helped to overthrow the Ben Ali regime. UGTT played a central role during the revolution and continues to do so in the transition process. That is the reason why extremists are continously attacking the UGTT in the capital but also in the rural areas.

The ETUC has consistently supported the UGTT in its activities, before, during and since the revolution, recognising its central importance for democratic development and the preservation of basic human rights including gender equality.

- Etuc letter to High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy European External Action Service : http://www.etuc.org/IMG/pdf/17_12_2012_Catherine_Ashton_EN-2.pdf