Tunisia’s Ministry of Information Technology and Communication (Mincom) is facing fierce resistance from unions over plans to restructure Tunisie Telecom (TT), news portal La Presse de Tunisie reports. Mincom has proposed a three-year plan featuring voluntary retirement to 2,500 TT employees in order to allow it to recruit new graduates, but the plans require a bill to be passed by the government in order to do so, as the measures are not allowed under current law. To that end, a ministerial council prepared a bill earlier this week to be submitted to the national assembly, adding the caveat that in order to be eligible for voluntary retirement, employees must be over 50 years old with at least 15 years of service. The General Federation of Post and Communications claims, however, that the bill is an attempt to sack some 4,000 employees. According to the trade union’s general secretary, Mongi Ben Mbarek, the proposals would represent the ‘wrongful dismissal’ of 50% of TT’s 8,200-strong workforce. Mbarek also claimed that ‘the proposed redundancies come from the [government’s] Emirati partner, Emirates International Telecommunications (EIT).’ EIT currently owns a 35% stake in TT, but has been looking to offload its holding for more than a year, following disagreements with the government, unions and management over the handling of the operator. The union plans to stage protests against the bill before it is put before parliament and is pushing for an inquest into ‘20 cases of corruption that the board of TT has not brought to justice.’
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