Published: 04/03/2023

Thousands of trade unionists, including members of the IUF affiliate FGAT-UGTT rallied in Tunis today to protest the increasing repression by Tunisia’s President Kais Saied. International trade union representatives travelling to Tunis to join the demonstration were yesterday told that they would not be allowed to enter the country.

  • On July 25, 2021 Saied sacked the government, suspended parliament and seized a range of powers before moving to rule by decree; in February 2022, Saied took control of the independent judiciary, setting up the Temporary Supreme Judicial Council
  • On January 31, 2023, Anis Al-Kaabi, General Secretary of the Tunisia’s Highway Workers Union, was arrested over a strike by toll booth workers and accused of causing the state financial losses
  • Following his arrest, the Council of Unions issued a statement condemning in the strongest possible terms his detention, adding that the harassment and the summons issued by the police to several UGTT (Tunisian General Labour Union) leaders and union members, seriously undermined trade union activity, violated fundamental trade union rights, and contravened international conventions ratified by Tunisia and the Tunisian Constitution
  • On February 19, European Trade Union Confederation General Secretary, Esther Lynch, was deported from Tunisia after taking part in a demonstration in Sfax organised by the UGTT to protest the Government’s crackdown on trade unions and the repression of rights
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, has condemned the “escalation of repression” in Tunisia
  • The IUF has written to the UGTT and FGAT-UGTT stating our full support for the campaign to release Anis Al-Kaabi and for their fight to defend trade union rights

Speaking at today’s rally, UGTT General Secretary Noureddine Taboubi stated unequivocally, “We will continue to defend freedoms and rights, whatever the cost. We do not fear prisons or arrests.”


We will continue to defend freedoms and rights, whatever the cost. We do not fear prisons or arrests.
Noureddine Taboubi, UGTT General Secretary