The workers of the transport company in Tunisia organized a protest and a strike today, Monday, in the government square in the Kasbah in Tunis.

The strike paralyzed land transport in the capital, Tunis, as the metro and buses stopped running, in the first move against the government of President Kais Saied this year.

The government transport strike coincides with a strike by taxi drivers today, for social demands, at a time when Tunisia is experiencing the worst economic crisis since independence in the fifties of the last century.

The strike comes in the context of the protests of the University of Transport, which is affiliated with the General Labor Union, against what it describes as the government's neglect of its demands, the most important of which is the refusal to privatize transport companies.

Wajih al-Zaidi, general secretary of the General University of Transport affiliated with the Labor Union, said, "We decided to go on an open strike, until we are given a date for paying our wages and the New Year's bonus (financial bonus)."

Al-Zaidi added - in statements to the media - that the strike will continue until the Presidency of the Government and the Ministry of Finance respond to the demands of the workers.

The strike highlights the difficult financial problems faced by public companies that are on the verge of bankruptcy, while the government is suffering from the worst financial crisis.

For her part, Hayat Al-Shamtouri, a spokeswoman for the Tunis Transport Company, said that the union is protesting the delay in paying wages and bonuses, noting that the financial situation in the company is very difficult.

The strike will put pressure on Saied's government, which faces growing opposition after 17 months of seizing executive powers, in a move his opponents described as a "coup".

Last week, the Secretary-General of the Labor Union, Noureddine Taboubi, announced that the union had begun consultations with organizations and forces from civil society with the aim of launching a dialogue to get Tunisia out of its crisis.

Al-Taboubi accused President Saeed of only listening to his voice, rejecting any participatory visions of reform, and insisting on proceeding alone in his administration of the country.

Since July 25, 2021, Tunisia has been experiencing a series of exceptional measures taken by the president, including the dissolution of Parliament and the Judicial Council, the issuance of legislation by presidential decrees, the passage of a new constitution, and the holding of early legislative elections in which less than 12% of the electorate participated.

Tunisia, which is struggling to deal with its public finances, is seeking a $1.9 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund in return for "government reforms" that include spending cuts, restructuring of public companies, freezing wages and cutting energy and food subsidies.

Economy Minister Samir Said said - last month - that Tunisia will face a difficult year, with an inflation rate that will exceed 10%.

He added that the government has no alternative to an agreement with the IMF.