Saturday, March 04, 2017

Tunisian Minister Resigns After Union Anger
Thursday 2 Mar 2017

A Tunisian businessman resigned from the government Thursday after his appointment as public services and governance minister last week prompted an outcry from the powerful UGTT trade union.

Khalil Ghariani was named on Saturday, replacing UGTT official Abid Briki, in what the union condemned as a "provocation".

Ghariani is on the board of the employers' federation UTICA, which shared a 2015 Nobel Prize with the UGTT for their work during Tunisia's transition towards democracy after its 2011 revolution.

Despite their shared award, the two groups have long been at odds over private sector salary increases and government policy.

Ghariani told private radio station Mosaique FM that he was stepping down because of "the political and social tensions we have experienced in the country over the past 48 hours".

"We must preserve the political and social balance in the country... and even the balance between UTICA and the UGTT," he added. "This is not the time for this kind of crisis."

His replacement has not yet been named.

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