07 May 2012 12:00 am | | 0


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Tunisian President, Moncef Marzouki with Workers at the Presidential Palace on May 1stEmployees and staff  of the Tunisian Presidential Palace, where Tunisian president, Moncef Marzouki lives, will be on strike today and tomorrow, May 7 and 8. This strike is considered the first of its kind in Tunisian history.According to the Director of the Tunisian Presidential Cabinet, Imed Deymi, the demands of the workers were mainly social. Workers are asking for an increase of a special grant for clothing, a simplification of the procedure for joining a union, and a bonus for working at the Presidency.“We already agreed on two of their demands, but the third one is what caused a little dispute. They were asking for another grant that the ousted president, Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali used to give. However we believe this is not possible in post-revolution Tunisia,” said Deymi. Seven employees working in the inner sanctum of Ben Ali’s presidential building used to receive this grant and the workers want it generalized to cover all employees at the Palace.Deymi expressed his astonishment over this strike. “We already discussed with some workers, members of the executive office of Tunisia’s Workers Union (UGTT) the demands on Friday.  And we agreed that the strike will not take place. However, we were really surprised when they decided to pursue the strike,” he stated.“We believe that this is a political strike rather than a union one,” Deymi said. ” Some parts inside the union are trying to use this strike to serve their political interests,” he added.According to Habib Jarjir, assistant of the secretary general of UGTT, the Office of the President of the Republic refused to listen to the demands of the workers, despite the initiation of discussions by the UGTT. “We met on Friday, May 3rd and we called for this meeting. However final agreements were unsuccessful. We demanded that equality between all workers, it is not possible that only seven people enjoy this grant,” he explained.In response to the accusations of Deymi, Jarjir said that there is no political motive to the strike. “This strike is apolitical, we insist on the independence of the union, and we refuse to have any poltical affiliations with any party,” he asserted.According to Deymi, the office of the President of the Republic are open to all discussions. “We are ready to negotiate with them and we insist on improving the  social and psychological conditions for all workers,” he concluded.

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