The Solidarity Center works with labor unions in Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria to strengthen their capacity to respond to workers' needs and promote their rights in the Arab Maghreb.
The Union Générale Tunisienne de Travail (UGTT) is the sole national federation in Tunisia, representing about 10-15% of the country’s workers. The UGTT has a longstanding history with the independence movement of Tunisia and played an important role in Tunisia's recent democratic movement.
In Tunisia, the Solidarity Center works with the UGTT to develop leadership and collective bargaining skills for workers in the textile sector and for railway workers. The Solidarity Center also collaborates with the Union of Tunisian Journalists (SJT), an independent, unaffiliated association of journalists founded in May 2004. Members of the SJT leadership seek to strengthen their organization through networking regionally, by meeting with unionized journalists from Algeria, Morocco, and Egypt, and internationally, by filing a compliant with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and building solidarity through the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). The Solidarity Center supports SJT members in their efforts to organize regional roundtable workshops and developing a public awareness campaign to publicize the existence of the SJT and the difficulty its members face.
Working Women Empowered: Making Democracy in Tunisia
. March 5, 2013—In December 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi, a 23-year-old market vendor in Tunisia, self-immolated to protest deep-seated government corruption that made it impossible for him to earn a living. Following his desperate action, Tunisian women helped spur protests and end autocratic regimes in Tunisia and throughout the Arabic-speaking world. Today, Tunisian women remain in the forefront of ensuring democratic change in their country during the difficult years of government transition.
Tunisian Union Calls Strike to Protest Murder
. February 8, 2013—The Tunisian Labor Federation (Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail, UGTT) is holding a general strike today in response to the murder Wednesday of a popular political leader. Chokri Belaid, a respected human rights lawyer and leader of the Democratic Patriots party, a major partner of the opposition Popular Front, was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen as he left home on his way to work.
10 Injured in Violent Attack on Tunisian Trade Union.
December 4, 2012—Ten people were injured today after they were attacked by a mob of men wielding knives, sticks and rocks at the Tunisian Labor Federation (Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail UGTT) in the capital, Tunis.
Union Members Stave off Attack on Tunisian Trade Union.
October 10, 2012—The offices of the Tunisan Labor Federation (Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail, UGTT) in Tunis, Tunisia, were attacked at 8:45 a.m. today by up to 200 thugs wielding rocks and bottles. Union supporters, including a Solidarity Center staff member, rushed to the scene and barricaded entry to the offices. Ever since last year’s elections, the UGTT has been repeatedly targeted with vicious attacks from groups hostile to the union. Firebomb attacks during the night of June 11-12 damaged three UGTT offices in Bousalam, Bengarden and Jendouba.
Union Offices in Tunisia Firebombed. June 13, 2012
—The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) issued the following statement: "Tunisian Islamic fundamentalists unleashed a campaign of firebombing trade union offices around the country yesterday, as the Salafist movement challenged the emerging democracy in the home of the 'Arab Spring.' Re-gional offices of the national union center UGTT in three locations have been burned down. . ."
Tunisia: Concern over Attempts to Undermine UGTT.
December 6, 2011—The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has expressed concern over attacks on the Tunisian national trade union center, UGTT, at a key juncture in the country’s transition process.
"Tunisian Unions Must Increase Their Visibility Now," Says Tunisian Activist.
June 30, 2011—Trade unionist, political activist, and blogger Jamel Bettaieb met with AFL-CIO affiliates last week to speak about where the trade union movement in Tunisia is heading. Now, Bettaieb says, is the time for unions to increase their visibility in order to secure a peaceful, fair, and democratic future for Tunisia.
Tunisian Uprising Was Only a Matter of Time, Say Union Activists.
April 14, 2011—Decades of injustice and tyranny, exacerbated by a global food price crisis and high unemployment, were the foundation upon which the Tunisian uprising was built. The public suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi, a fruit vendor, proved to be the tipping point, as the long-suffering population rose up and ousted their dictator in January.
Tunisia: Authorities Must Cease Repression and Start Dialogue.
The International Trade Union Confederation has called on Tunisian authorities to cease the violent repression against demonstrators demanding action on employment and initiate serious dialogue with the national trade union center UGTT to tackle Tunisia's growing social crisis. Since a young unemployed Tunisian man set himself on fire on December 17, 2010, and a second youth committed suicide in the town of Sidi Bouzid, street protests have taken place across the country.
Education for Change: Sowing the Seeds of Solidarity
. Solidarity Center hosts a seven-member delegation of women union educators from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, and Yemen.
Solidarity Center Publications
- Gender Programming Manual (2006). This 70-page handbook incorporates staff insights and experiences into checklists and tools needed to develop programs that redress gender inequity in the workplace, promote leadership roles for women, and move closer to achieving full worker rights.