Tunisia: General strike in Tataouine demanding implementation of El-Kamour agreement 

 The governorate of Tataouine in south-eastern Tunisia on Wednesday announced a general strike to pressure the authorities to implement the El-Kamour agreement, concluded between the demonstrators and the government.

The government announced that a final agreement had been reached with the demonstrators of El-Kamour, on 7 November, 2020, following the eruption of protests demanding the creation of job opportunities in the area.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, the sit-in coordinator Dhaou El-Ghoul announced: "Today we staged a successful general strike in all parts of Tataouine. The aim of the strike was not to disrupt the public interests, but rather to pressure the government to implement all the provisions of the agreement."

Al-Ghoul added: "It was planned to stage a three-day strike, but its duration was reduced and limited to only one day," without mentioning the reason behind the decision.

He continued: "We are waiting for the announcement of further steps that could amount to shutting the oil and gas pumping station (in El-Kamour)."

According to official figures, Tataouine oil fields contribute to 40 per cent and 20 per cent of Tunisia's oil and gas production, respectively.

The demonstrators are calling on the government to implement all the terms of the agreement, including integrating 250 young locals into the oil companies operating in the region.

The agreement also provides for the financing of an investment fund with a budget of 80 million Tunisian dinars ($30 million) and the funding of a number of projects for the benefit of youth in El-Kamour.

In a press release issued in February, Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi noted that his government would keep its promises regarding the agreement.

Mechichi reiterated the state commitment: "To implement all the pledges it has made, despite the feeling shared by the population of Tataouine that the implementation of some of the provisions of El-Kamour agreement has been delayed."

Tunisia has been suffering from economic challenges, which have worsened with the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, along with the eruption of demonstrations across the country protesting the increase in unemployment rates.

The National Institute of Statistics (INS) reported last August that the number of unemployed people in the country had reached 746,400 out of around 11.8 million Tunisians – an increase of 19.63 per cent compared with the end of 2019.