KSAR, Tunisia, Oct 16, 2012 (AFP) -
KSAR, Tunisia, Oct 16, 2012 (AFP) –
General strikes were held on Tuesday in the central Tunisian towns of Ksar and Thala, AFP journalists reported, with residents accusing the government of failing to improve living conditions.
Administrative offices and most businesses in Ksar remained shut with the local branch of Tunisia’s main workers union, the UGTT, saying the strike was observed by 90 percent of those concerned.
Residents, local authorities and unions are demanding that Ksar, which lies on the edge of a phosphate mining basin, receive a greater share of revenues from the industry, and that the Gafsa Phosphate Company hire more locals.
Tunisia is the fifth largest exporter of phosphates and the industry is the largest employer in the central Gasfa province, but it has struggled since last year’s revolution due to a string of strikes and sometimes violent protests.
A strike was also observed in the central western town Thala, with organisers accusing the Islamist-led government, elected in October last year, of failing to boost development and provide jobs.
Criticism of the government has grown in recent months over its failure to improve living conditions and tackle unemployment, which was a key factor behind the mass uprising.
Protests have multiplied since July, notably in the economically stricken central regions of Sidi Bouzid, birthplace of the revolution that toppled Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and Kasserine.