Tunisia shut down all international flights after the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT), the national trade union representing the interests of workers of different industries, initiated a public strike over deteriorating economic conditions and measures proposed by the local government to counter the financial crisis.
The strike, which affected all international and domestic inbound and outbound flights across the country’s airports, started in the early hours of June 16, 2022.
According to European network manager Eurocontrol, the strike will affect departures and arrivals until 22:59 UTC on June 16, 2022. However, overflights can continue, while other flights such as hospital flights, search and rescue and those in emergency situations will also be unaffected.
Speaking to Reuters a day before the strike, Wajih Zidi from the UGTT said the walkout was organized as a sign of protest against the Tunisian government’s economic reform plans, which includes financial measures such as freezing wages of aviation and other industries’ workers as well as reducing the existing subsidies.
The strike would affect not only flight operations, but also other forms of public transport and cruises, disrupting the work of around 159 public institutions of various sectors, the representative warned.
Meanwhile, speaking to Aljazeera, government spokesperson Nasr El-Din Al-Nusabi said that the ongoing strike is the first event of this kind organized by the labor union since 2018 and added that it “reflects a new dimension to the political and financial crises” that have intensified since 2021.
The government is attempting to ease the ongoing financial crisis with the reform package and aims to receive a $4 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund that could keep the country from defaulting.