Tunisia: Civil Society Backs Unions in Looming Faceoff with President

by | Feb 9, 2023 | Political, Social, Tunisia


On 9 February 2023, over 60 organizations and individuals from Tunisia’s civil society and political organizations signed a statement of support for the Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail (UGTT). The powerful labor union has increasingly portrayed itself as the last bastion of power balance opposite of President Kais Saied to whom the statement attributes “repression” and “tyranny.”

The recent arrest of a UGTT official responsible for the organization of highway workers following a strike has ratcheted up tension between the President and the UGTT’s leader, Noureddine Taboubi. Taboubi has promised that the UGTT will continue to conduct sit-ins and other demonstrations, culminating in a march in Tunis on 11 March.


To this point, the UGTT has refrained from large-scale political activism, remaining on the sidelines during the 14 January anti-President demonstrations. However, recent efforts to quell union organization with arrests appear to be rousing the purportedly 1-million-member union to action. Large-scale UGTT protests could be highly disruptive and could lead to clashes with security forces or civil unrest.


Explore our services or speak with our team of North Africa-based risk experts.