October 09, 2015 at 05:00PM on Facebook
A timely reminder or the immense social and political value of unions. This one likely prevented a civil war.
‘The civil society groups intervened at the height of the crisis in 2013, provided critical channels for dialogue and political compromises. The heavyweight in the Quartet was the UGTT — the Tunisian General Labor Union, which wielded enormous power to call general strikes and enjoyed broad credibility in Tunisian society. Its leader, Houcine Abbassi, emerged as a key negotiator in the resulting compromise that kept the peace. After tough negotiations, the Islamists surrendered power to a transitional government and agreed to a time frame for new elections and plans for a draft constitution.
‘“This came down to the basics of negotiation,” said Sarah Chayes, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “It was a case of ‘you shut up, and let the other person speak.’ This is about how you make people speak with each other who don’t particularly want to.”’
Tunisian group wins Nobel Peace Prize