English

Protesting for work

 

All Egyptian governments do not believe in social justice and insist on adopting policies that endorse workers exploitation .

After the revolution, workers had aspirations that they will have a better living, that officials will listen to their complaints or at least recognize their rights. These aspirations vanished after issuing the decree 34/2011 to criminalizing workers strikes with criminal penalties. Though  the military junta issued more than 100 decrees , it is stalling on releasing the decree of labor unions for allegedly reviewing it. In addition ,state owned media is launching a crackdown on workers protests and accusing them of impeding production cycle.

The essence of workers protests is to better work terms and conditions aiming for higher production rates. In addition , there are tens of strikes for the right to work and operating factories ; Petrojet workers who held a sit in order to return to work after being arbitrarily fired, were military tried and received 6-month imprisonment sentences.

Workers of the factories Amonsito, Nubaria, Stia,Misr Menoufia, Ebico pharmaceuticals, Salemco, Mansura Espania, Telephonic Equipment, Nasr Autos, Onion Drying, TeleMasr,…etc, protested only for re-operating the factories ,however, media deliberately  ignores those facts.

The Egyptian Center  for Economic and Social Rights produced a series of documentaries  about the working class in Egypt, the first in the series is ” Protesting for Work”. The film documents the struggle of workers of  Misr Menoufia Spinning and Weaving factories. Workers protested in front of the prosecutor general  office and in front of the governorate authority building demanding operating the factory which was closed down in September 2010.

Workers knocked all doors, submitted complaints to the cabinet, prosecutor general , labor force ministry , Menoufia governorate authority and the labor union. The labor union offered them their basic pay , disbursed from the emergency fund , yet the union took no action against the factory owners , did not take any action to re-operate the mill or to work for a legal close down such that workers would be paid all due amounts and their pensions would be recognized and guaranteed. Throughout the past year, workers went to the factory daily , demanding work , but in vain.

Today , we mark one whole year on this tragedy . 500 families are suffering as the emergency fund stopped paying the workers their basic pay , staring August 2011 . All parties ignored the suffering of those families in Ramadan and the feast . As a result , workers marched on and blocked Cairo- Alex agricultural road.

For all those who look down on workers demands : How will you help Misr Menoufia workers?

The factory was closed down since September 2010 , workers demand to get back to work, owners do not respond and no one holds them accountable for this. The government  takes the passive stance , even more stopped paying  basic wages to hose workers.

Link to documentary :