Public discontent over the issue of unemployment appears to be growing despite the efforts of the interim government to address the deteriorating job situation in Tunisia.
According to a poll released by SIGMA Conseil, 61.5 % of Tunisians are dissatisfied with the employment policy of the government and 56% of Tunisians are dissatisfied with the policy of the government regarding regional development.
Degrees of Satisfaction over the Government’s Employment Policy All Data from SIGMA Conseil
Doubts over the government’s handling of the unemployment problem have not been put to rest by the recent declarations of Abdelwaheb Matar, Tunisia’s minister of employment. Matar stated in a recent television interview that Tunisian jobless should be “more adventurous” and find a job in Libya, asserting that the Libyan minister of labor promised to provide Tunisian job seekers with special facilities.
Last Sunday saw an expression of the Tunisian people’s discontent with employment policy during a conference on unemployment in Sfax. The conference was attended by Abdelwahab Matar and Slim Hmidene, respective ministers of employment and state property. Tunisian national television reported that many participants at the conference brandished signs with slogans showing dissatisfaction with the performance of the government and some participants opted to boycott the meeting altogether.
Imed Bouhouch, a representative from the Union of Unemployed People at the conference, felt that there was a gap between the programs suggested by the government and the real needs of the people.
“He [Matar] wants us to go to Libya and we all know the catastrophes happening in Libya,” Bouhouch told national television reporters.
“We decided to boycott this meeting because it will not serve us in anything. We have already submitted our proposals to the ministry,” said Mahmoud Nssiri from the Sidi Bouzid-based Future Organization.
The minister reacted by saying that organizations have the right to boycott the meeting and that the ministry took into account all the previous proposals when putting ahead unemployment relief strategies.
Unemployment and imbalanced regional development were both catalysts of the Tunisian uprising that led to the collapse of the regime of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.