The Tunisian government has reached an agreement with the powerful trade union center, General Union of Tunisian Workers, UGTT, to raise salaries of civil servants. The move comes after the union has threatened to start a series of strikes from October 24.
Prime Minister Youssef Chahed government’s decision to raise salaries may provoke a disapproval of the IMF, which has been worried for years about the weight of the wage bill, according to Reuters.
Tunisia has dropped into a deep economic slump following the overthrow in 2011 of autocratic leader Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.
The government has been trying to cut the public sector wage bill to 12.5 percent of GDP in 2020 from 15 percent by offering voluntary redundancies.
New austerity measures, dictated by the IMF, have met resistance from the UGTT, which has rejected plans to dismiss public servants and sell loss-making state firms.
Last month, the IMF approved the payment of a $245 million loan tranche to Tunisia, the fifth under its loan program with the country. The loan program is tied to Tunisia’s pursuing economic reforms aimed at keeping its deficit under control.
Tunisia expects economic growth to accelerate to between 3 and 3.5 percent next year from an expected 2.9 percent in 2018, driven by a recovery of the tourism industry.