A dozen leading UK trade unionists released a statement today condemning the latest attacks on workers’ rights in Egypt. Members of the national executive committees of the university workers’ union UCU, civil servants’ union PCS and the National Union of Teachers were joined by Bakers and Food workers’ union president Ian Hodson in a protest letter responding to the storming of the IFFCO factory in Suez by Egyptian security forces on 3 January. The statement also condemns the on-going persecution of the Cairo bus workers’ leaders by the Egyptian authorities, as a number of bus worker activists appeal a two-year jail sentence and 100,000 LE (£5,000) fine imposed in absentia in relation to a strike in 2014.
What you can do:
- Rush messages of protest to the Egyptian embassy, calling for the immediate release of detained worker activists
Protest statement: Egyptian workers’ rights under threat
Once again trade unionists in Egypt are under threat from the military regime, simply for exercising their rights to organise and strike. On 3 January, police stormed the IFFCO oils and soap factory in Suez and forcibly broke up a sit-in by striking workers. Eleven workers have been arrested and could face long jail terms and large fines. The attack on IFFCO follows other assaults on workers’ rights, including the arrest and detention of workers in the Alexandria Shipyard who were demanding better pay and the implementation of health and safety procedures, and of leaders of the Cairo bus workers’ union who were seized from their homes in September 2016 on charges of ‘incitement to strike’. Five members of the bus workers’ union are already appealing a two-year jail sentence and an LE100,000 fine (around £5000) imposed in absentia on charges related to a previous strike.
Egyptian workers are fighting to feed their families as prices spiral out of control. The International Monetary Fund and foreign governments want to see more cuts to subsidies, welfare and services as they push for neo-liberal reforms which aim to make the poor pay the price for Egypt’s economic crisis. We call on Egypt’s military regime to stop the persecution of worker activists and release all those unjustly detained. We extend our solidarity to all those in Egypt carrying on the struggle for bread, freedom and social justice.
8 January 2017
Ian Hodson, National President, Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU)
Ian Bradley, Unite the Union, London Construction workers Branch Marianne Owens, PCS National Executive Committee (Civil Servants union)
Steve West, PCS DWP Group Executive Committee (Civil Servants union)
Candy Udwin, PCS National Executive Committee (Civil Servants union)
Marianne Owens, PCS National Executive Committee (Civil Servants union)
Sean Wallis, UCU National Executive Committee (University workers union)
Mandy Brown, UCU National Executive Committee (University workers union)
Carlo Morrelli, UCU National Executive Committee (University workers union)
Jess Edwards, National Union of Teachers, National Executive Committee
Stefan Simms, Nation Union of Teachers, National Executive Committee
Steve Guy, Unite the Union shop steward, Gatwick Airport