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Criminalization Of The Right To Strike Is A Step Backward And A Setback For Democracy And Revolution

Signatories to this statement reject  the decision issued  by the Egyptian cabinet, on 23/3/2011 approving decree proposal to penalize –under a state of emergency-  anyone who staged or participated  in a protest , a sit-in or an assembly  that  impeded  or delayed  work in public or private sectors as well as anyone who incited or called for or advocated by any means to commit the aforementioned crimes. The punishment shall be imprisonment and a fine of up to LE 500,000 or either of them.

The signatories  state that  acts of protest ,demonstration and  strike are not criminal, as described by the decision. Those acts are rights that workers have struggled for and are included in international agreements, signed and ratified by Egypt.

Authorities must  respect these rights, without diminution or waste. Authorities must also stop promoting stability as a sword of Domiciles in order to gradually  give in to compromises.  Stability can never be the result of repressive laws and polices that seize freedoms and drag us 50 years back ,but rather come from rooting social justice principles as pillars of rule. Stability is sought by seeking to recognize rights of laborers and the poor and marginalized sectors and conducting social dialogue and group negotiations with vision and an implementation schedule.

The demands of Egypt’s workers, which they claimed over the past months were not attended to, on the contrary, the military junta ,the cabinet  and some political forces opposing to the rights of workers led  a fierce crackdown  to  the turn the community against the labor class , where the labor rights were described as individual rights  that should not be claimed at this moment although the labor  social demands were declared everywhere a long time ago. The main six demands are :

1 – Contracting employees who have been working temporarily  for more than three years.

2 – Expulsion  of  chairmen and board members of institutions and banks involved in corruption in public funds or who are profiting from their  jobs

3 – Lifting  arbitrary sanctions issued by official of  companies against labor leaders, who exposed corruption . Laborers were  either  transferred  or reallocated or expelled.

4 – Setting a minimum and maximum wage to  reduce the differences  between incomes, to ensure a decent life for workers and such that wages  are in proportion with the prices of goods, services and the average dependency ratio in society

5 – The right to independent trade unions

6 – Amending the labor act to ensure the stability of labor relations and to achieve job security and limit the powers of the employer  regarding arbitrary dismissal.

The persistence in claiming these demands in more than 500 protest in all business sectors all over Egypt during February and March 2011 means that they are genuine demands and social and economic rights  that are fair for all workers of Egypt, and not only the demands of class or a category of a few workers.

Accomplishments of the  Egyptian working class throughout an honored history in times of peace and war in defense of this nation and its welfare  deserves respect and appreciation. In the past five years  the labor class led the largest protest wave in its history seeking dignity, freedom and social justice where they  exposed  corruption in privatization deals and led the battle of pay equity  and claimed its legitimate right to organize independent trade union thus paved the way for  the Jan 25 revolution.

The signatories  to this statement announce  their rejection of the  decree draft  and believe it is a setback for democracy, freedom and the revolution. Signatories call on the PM to withdraw this law  and state  that the only way to achieve stability is to promptly start a social dialogue on social policies and labor relations in Egypt. Signatories declare solidarity with the demands and rights of Egyptian workers, and call  to respond to them and declare a clear vision and an implementation schedule for those demands.


The Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions.

General Union of the real estate tax.

General Union of pensioners .

General Trade Union of workers in public transport.

Workers Union of Labor and Immigration authorities in Giza and 6th of October (under incorporation)

General Union for the staff of information centers (under incorporation)

Egyptian Committee for the protection of labor rights.

Ma’an campaign for  trade union freedoms.

Coordinating Committee of the rights and freedoms of workers  and unions.

National Committee for Defending Prisoners of conscience and freedom of expression.

Solidarity group.

Hisham Mubarak Law Center for Law.

The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights.

The Egyptian Association for the Advancement of Community Participation.

Association for freedom of thought and expression.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information

Awlad elArd  for human rights.

New Woman Foundation.

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.

ElNadim Center for treatment and rehabilitation of victims of violence.

Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.

Andalus Institute for Tolerance and combat of violence.

Organization of the Revolutionary Socialists.

Democratic Labour Party (under founding )

April 6 Youth Movement

Youth of justice and freedom

Alliance of revolution youth  (under founding)

Public Coalition party (under founding)

Social renewal current

Afaq Ishtrakia Center

Egyptian Communist party

The Egyptian Social Democratic party (under construction).

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