Tunisia courts paralysed for over a month due to judge strike

Courts in Tunisia have been suspended from providing services to citizens for over a month, due to a strike staged by judges demanding improvement in working conditions and upgrading their financial incentives.

This strike is considered the longest in the history of the judiciary in Tunisia, beginning on 16 November and extendingmore than once as negotiations with the government faltered.

The death of a judge from COVID-19, and after failing to afford the high cost of treatment, sparked a wave of anger among judges, prompting them to enter a strike and invite the government to negotiate their demands.

Release requests and visits for detainees, in addition to the deliberation of terrorism and financial corruption cases, were excluded from the strike. However, extending it more than once brought about paralysis in the country's courts and disrupted the work of lawyers and other sectors related to the judiciary.

The judges declared their adherence to the strike until a formal agreement with the government is reached.

In a statement on Mosaique FM on Thursday, the dean of Lawyer Ibrahim Bouderbala demanded the enforcement of the labour law, according to which the government can impose the continuity of the minimum of the judiciary's activities, and the application of the law regarding the payment of wages for unfinished work, referring to the judges' reluctance to resume their work.

Bouderbala announced: "The judiciary institution has been suspended for five weeks. This is one major risk to the homeland. If adversaries do not go to courts to solve the problem, this means that they will settle accounts face to face."

Among the main demands of the judges is the increase in wages, improving the courts' infrastructure and working conditions and granting the judiciary social services such as treatment in the military hospital.

Tunisia is witnessing strikes in several work sectors, demanding the improvement of living conditions and creating job opportunities for the unemployed.

The protest movements coincided with the tenth anniversary of the eruption of the revolution in Tunisia on 17 December,2010, which led to the fall of the regime of the late President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali on 14 January, 2011.

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