Hundreds of protesters demonstrated in front of the Tunisian Parliament in Tunis on Thursday, to call for public sector jobs for the unemployed and the enforcement of unemployment legislation laws passed from 2011 to 2012.
Unemployed people and graduates carried banners reading “Work is a right of mine, not a privilege” and “My lifetime was wasted in waiting. Shame on you government.” Protesters also chanted slogans including “Work. Freedom. National Dignity” and called for guaranteeing public sector job for the long-time unemployed.
The protesters also raised slogans inspired from the 2011 protest movement, including “Power lies within people’s hands” and promised an escalation if their demands were not met.
“We came here today to call on the enforcement of the legislation which was passed in the parliament in 2011 – 2012,” said a protester from the state of Bizerte, who accused the Ennahda Party and its allies of “serving their own interests,” by passing this legislation in 2011-2012, and demanded “the enforcement of this legislation to serve our interests.”
The legislation “took into account two measures, the year of graduation and the age,” added a spokesperson of the protesters from the city of Medenine. The coordinator of the unemployed in the south demanded “passing the unconditional automatic employment legislation for those who were unemployed for a long time.”
Tunisia is an upper-middle-income country which faces a major and persistent unemployment problem, particularly among youth and women.
According to the World Bank, the country’s unemployment rate stagnated at 15.3 per cent during the first half of 2019, compared to 15.4 percent in 2018, but unemployment among women (22.6 percent in Q1-2019) and graduates (28.2 percent in Q1-2019) remains significantly higher.