Tunisair aircraft technicians, flight attendants, and pilots affiliated with independent unions under the umbrella of the Tunisian General Confederation of Labor (CGTT) are organizing a 2-day strike starting today, May 22.
The strike was announced in a public letter on May 7 and aims to protest the lack of union rights and demand that the CGTT be present for any employer-employee discussions. Beyond that, the union accused the managers of Tunisair of corruption dating back to the pre-Revolution era.
“As employees that are conscious about their company, our principal demand is to clean Tunisair from corruption. Corrupt individuals are still in control of everything and are intimidating other employees. We are no longer going to accept that,” declared to Tunisia Live Fathi Medari, assistant to the secretary-general of the union of aircraft technicians.
The CGTT is also pushing Tunisair to give it the same say at the bargaining table that its rival union, the General Union of Tunisian Labor, benefits from. “Government officials like the Ministry of Social Affairs have been ignoring our presence and dealing exclusively with the General Union of Tunisian Labor [UGTT]. As a result, the employees that we represent have been facing severe discrimination and are now claiming their right to be equal to the UGTT and participate in the decision making process inside the company,” added Fathi.
According to a source within the Aircraft Technicians Union, a member union of the CGTT, participation in the strike was lower than expected: only 400 out of a possible 1,000 affiliated with the union. The union had hoped pilots and flight attendants would join the strike, but the few pilots who had stated they would participate were granted holiday days by the Tunisair administration. However, CGTT unionists are still optimistic and expecting a settlement soon. “The poor participation is due to UGTT efforts to abort this strike. Nevertheless, this will not influence the outcome and goal of this strike,” said Fathi.