Tunisia lorry drivers on strike

AFP , Monday 30 May 2011

Tunisian transport union official stresses revolutionary dignity as lorry drivers strike in protest of poor working conditions

Lorry drivers were on an indefinite strike demanding better work conditions and protesting abusive layoffs, a union official aid Monday.

"Our sector agreement is not being applied," said transport union official Mokhtar Hili.

He said the strike, which began Sunday, was being followed by all of the sector's 14,000 employees. "Drivers work 12 to 13 hour days and are not only forced to load and unload merchandise but also stand guard by sleeping in their lorries," he said.

Moreover, he said, "if a driver has an accident, he must cover damages even if the vehicle is insured," he said.

"Before the revolution these abuses were tolerated," he said, referring to January's popular uprising that led to the fall of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, "but now drivers put their dignity before all else."

Friday, talks between unions and management representatives ended without a deal, according to the official news agency TAP.

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