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article imageTunisia govt, teachers reach deal to end strike

By AFP     Feb 9, 2019 in World

The Tunisian government and a teachers' union reached a deal Saturday to end a months-long strike that has disrupted schools across the country.

"We have reached an agreement with the government on all of our demands," the head of the secondary school teachers' union, Morched Idriss, told AFP.

Under the deal, the teachers will end their strike and "return to work to make the school year a success," he added.

Affiliated with the country's powerful UGTT trade union, the union has been on strike since October over calls for wage hikes, bonuses and better conditions in schools.

The strike has hit Tunisian schools hard. Many teachers have not conducted first term exams or given grades.

The deal comes after thousands of teachers rallied Wednesday in the capital Tunis.

That protest came just weeks ahead of a planned public sector strike called by the UGTT, but Tunisian authorities on Thursday reached a deal with the trade union to avert another paralysing walkout.

It would have been the third mass strike in a matter of months against the government and reforms dictated by the International Monetary Fund.

In 2016, the IMF granted Tunisia a 2.4-billion-euro loan (the current equivalent of 2.7 billion dollars) in exchange for pledges to impose austere economic reforms and to rein in civil service salaries.

Despite a relatively smooth democratic transition after the 2011 fall of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisian leaders are struggling to tackle stubborn unemployment and high inflation.

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