An accord was signed on Wednesday between the government and the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) to remove the use of subcontractors in the public sector.
The accord will not be implemented until a board of ministers agrees upon it. The board will hold a session next week to review the accord, said Minister of Social Affairs Khalil Zaouia at Wednesday’s signing.
“This accord concerns more than 30,000 employees working in the subcontracting sphere of the public sector,” said an official in the Ministry of Social Affairs to state news agency TAP.
According to the verbal processes in Wednesday’s meeting, the accord allows for contractual agents with two years of service to become permanent employees by the end of October 2013.
In cases where subcontracting practices continue, contractual agents will receive a pay raise equal to that decided for their permanent employee counterparts.
The accord does not affect subcontracting in the private sector and will not have negative repercussions on subcontractors, said Nabil Wrari, a Social Affairs Ministry official, to Tunisia Live.
“We cannot impose the end of the use of subcontractors in private enterprises,” Wrari stated.
Moncef Yaakoubi, a former UGTT member, argued that if the accord is implemented thoughtfully, it will lead to positive work output in both public and private spheres.
Attempts to ban subcontractor use in the public sphere started ever since the revolution. On April 22, 2011, the government decided to regulate the situation of subcontracted guards and cleaning personnel. Yet, that of post office contractual agents was not addressed.
“[Post office subcontractors] reached a level of frustration and despair. Some began labor and hunger strikes, some had open-ended sit-ins,” Mongi Ben Mbarak, a post office official, told Tunisia Live.
The board of ministers’ meeting next week aims to go beyond the April 2011 decision in regulating all subcontractors in the public sector.