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Interim President addresses Tunisian people on Labor Day

Published the:  01/04/2011

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May 1, 2011 – TAP - Interim President Foued Mebazaa said the Tunisian people had confirmed, on the occasion of the glorious Revolution of January 14, their commitment to dignity that would be meaningless without an income source that guarantees decent life.
He underlined that the celebration Sunday in Tunisia of National Labor Day is special this year as it takes place in an exceptional historical period which the country is living through after the revolution of dignity and freedom.
He emphasized, in an address delivered on Saturday night to the Tunisian people on the occasion of Labor Day, the commitment of the Interim Government in this transitory phase to focus on preserving jobs and helping businesses overcome the fallout of the current situation and resume their pace of activity.
Mr. Mebazaa also stressed the need to develop an exceptional employment program including mechanisms that aim to grant benefits to employed people among university graduates and provide them with training and qualification opportunities to open broader prospects for their integration in the job market.
He also reminded of measures announced in the social reform program adopted by the Interim Government and designed, in particular, to regularize the situation of specific groups of workers, strengthen all attributes of decent job and remove employment under the sub-contracting system in the public sector.
Besides, the Interim President recalled efforts designed to settle the problem of unemployment and rectify the regional imbalance, in addition to boosting several vital economic sectors, while focusing on stimulating regional development in areas which he emphasized the obvious needs in terms of utilities and infrastructure.
He added that this reform program also comprises temporary measures aimed to support businesses that had suffered damage during the incidents that occurred in the country after the revolution, in order to help them continue their activities and preserve jobs.
To improve purchasing power of low-income citizens, Mr. Mebazaa announced the increase in the minimum guaranteed wage in the agricultural and interprofessional sectors; these increases will be determined after consultation with relevant professional organizations.
He expressed hope that these measures will contribute to "improve the social climate and revive the Tunisian economy," allowing, thereby, speeding up the pace of growth and overcoming, in the best way, this delicate situation.
He reiterated the Interim Government's willingness to spare no effort to reactivate the economic circuit and involve all concerned categories in the development effort to ensure fair distribution of its fruits and guarantee more job opportunities.
In another connection, the Interim President reviewed efforts aimed at "restoring order in political affairs," to prepare a healthy democratic transition in power, stating: "we strive to ensure that it takes place in a responsible national consensus."
He noted that daily life is gradually returning to its normal pace in a climate of trust and serenity thanks to the efforts and sacrifices made by the internal security units, the National Guard and the National Army, as well as thanks to the awareness and cohesion that marked the majority of Tunisians in this difficult transitional period.
Moreover, Mr. Mebazaa highlighted that the unanimous tribute rendered by observers to the Tunisian Revolution, which is now regarded as a model of democratic transition that deserves to be supported and protected from all dangers and convulsions, is for all Tunisians a source of pride for it was conducted to eliminate all feelings of hopelessness, marginalization and exclusion.
The Interim President said, however, that these tributes and praises "begin to turn gradually into apprehensions and fears in light of some missteps and acts of lawlessness and instability," because of sit-ins, strikes and paralyses of some public service, pointing up in this regard: " we can understand some of the viewpoints of principle but we could not understand their occurrence at this specific time, let alone the methods adopted."
He said that such practices start to impact negatively on foreign investment intentions in Tunisia and even on the survival of some investment projects in Tunisia as well as on the revival of the normal pace of tourism, noting that hundreds of thousands of Tunisian families live from this sector.
"I confirm that these fears are true and need to be addressed in a responsible way; the future of our children depends on the future of this Revolution and it is the duty of every Tunisian today to preserve it," he added.
Mr. Mebazaa said it is time "to get back to work with all needed seriousness and seek to preserve the potential of the State to provide public services to all citizens," which are among their fundamental rights.
He said that work and perseverance, particularly today, are in no way incompatible with democracy, noting that they are two "inseparable and complementary" ways, as " democracy cannot co-exist with disorder and irresponsibility."
He added in this context: " I rely on the spirit of responsibility that drives all professional organizations and their awareness of the precariousness of the current stage and the need to preserve the invulnerability and balances of our country's economy and adopt dialogue and consultation as an approach to reach consensus on all issues of concern to different production partners," likely to contribute to developing the country's businesses and improving living conditions.
The Interim President also emphasized the great responsibility falling on social partners, more particularly, in this delicate situation to rehabilitate work, as civilisational value and ideal way for consecration of citizenship.
He urged all Tunisians to engage in serious and constructive work, redouble efforts to develop production and improve its quality, so as to resume the normal pace of activity in different sectors and meet the legitimate expectations of the revolutionary youth, as part of a development model that relies on self-reliance and takes into consideration the needs of disadvantaged zones in the areas of investment and job creation.
Mr. Mebazaa also emphasized the role of the national media, political parties and all segments of the civil society, in this crucial stage in the history of Tunisia, in raising awareness of the major importance of the homeland to which all Tunisians are attached, saying that "all intellectual trends and electoral programs should be above any political calculation."
He said that the revolution starts today to experience a turning point that requires adopting a serious approach by all Tunisian citizens that places the interest of the homeland above all considerations.
The Interim President also said that the Tunisian people had offered to the homeland a glorious revolution which represents a historic opportunity that requires national reconciliation.
He also considered the revolution a single opportunity to build a new society that "should break with all negative aspects of the past and avoid committing the same mistakes, so that history will not repeat itself."
Mr. Mebazaa stressed, in conclusion, that this new societal structure should be based on a strong consensual foundation bringing together all Tunisians without exception and rejecting rancour.