Tunisia: ITUC Condemns Expulsion of ETUC General Secretary

photo: ETUC: Esther Lynch meeting with Noureddine Taboubi, UGTT General Secretary

The ITUC has condemned the decision of Tunisian President Kais Saied to expel Esther Lynch, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), from the country this weekend.

Esther Lynch was forced out of the country for addressing a rally organised by the ITUC-affiliated UGTT trade union centre to protest against Saied’s failed policies, a wave of anti-union action by the authorities, and the continued detention of UGTT official Anis Kaabi who was arrested on 31 January following a strike.

Saied has, since his 2019 election, eroded and removed key institutions of democracy and assumed complete power for himself. His policies have done enormous damage to Tunisia’s economy, society and the daily life of working people.

Owen Tudor, ITUC Deputy General Secretary, said: “This expulsion is a blatant interference in the legitimate activities of trade unionists who are exercising their freedom of association rights under international law.

“It will do further damage to the international reputation of Kais Saied’s regime at a time when the country needs international support due to the failure of his policies.

“We call on him to release Anis Kaabi, respect fundamental rights, including trade union freedoms, and replace his autocratic approach with one that respects the Tunisian people and their democratic rights. The problems of Tunisia today can only be resolved through democracy, dialogue, cooperation and negotiation with the unions.”