Solidarity with Torah Cement workers: Defend the right to strike in Egypt

Workers at the Torah Cement company in Egypt are the latest to face repression for daring to demand their rights, after 32 workers were given 3 year jail sentences for taking part in a sit-in to demand permanent contracts. They will be appealing their sentences on 18 June and Egyptian trade union and human rights activists are appealing for international solidarity to highlight the case.

UPDATE 18 June: Appeal court reduces Torah Cement workers’ jail sentences from 3 years to 2 months

What you can do:

  • Share the campaign banner and icon on social media
  • Pass a resolution in your trade union branch resolving to write to the Egyptian authorities in protest at their attacks on workers’ rights

Solidarity with the Torah Cement Workers

International signatories include (full list of Egyptian and international signatories below)

Paul McAleer, Secretary of the Sydney Branch of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA); Vinne Molina, Branch President, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) in Western Australia; Mick Buchan, CFMEU Western Australia Branch Secretary; Jimmy O’Connor, CFMEU Southern Australia Assistant Secretary; Lucy Honan, Branch Councillor for the Australian Education Union; Michael Thomson, National Tertiary Education Union State Secretary for New South Wales; Ian Hodson, General Secretary of the food workers’ union BFAWU; Michael Letwin, Co-Convenor of Labor for Palestine (USA); Mike Treen, National Director, Unite the Union, New Zealand; Savas Michael-Matsas, General Secretary, EEK, Greece; Motsomi Marobela, Coordinator, International Socialists Botswana; Petros Constantinou, Councillor, Athens Municipality, Greece, Professor Joel Beinin, Stanford University, USA; Professor Malcolm Povey, University of Leeds, UK;

Sign here

We, the signatories of this statement express our shock and stupefaction at the verdict  issued on June 4, sentencing 32 workers of the Torah Cement company to three years in jail. The workers were accused of gang violence and assault on civil servants but not a single piece of evidence was shown in court. The sentence was issued only 15 days after the workers’ arrest and their sentencing, and the judge’s bias was made clear when he declared he was convinced that demonstrations and strikes should be “forbidden and criminalised”! All of this means this was anything but a fair trial.

The government has shifted the burden of so-called economic reforms on workers and the poor who are alone in footing the bill for the surge in prices and poverty levels and the collapse in living standards. Not content with that, the government is now hell-bent on cracking down against workers who raise demands and has them jailed or sacked.

These and other crimes have put Egypt back on the International Labour Organisation’s blacklist for the fourth time, along with the countries that engage in the most blatant infringements of workers and trade union rights in violation of international conventions.

The signatories reaffirm the legitimacy of the Torah workers’ struggle. They have resisted attempts at sacking them and demonstrated on their company’s premises for 55 days. The workers have been employed there for years and therefore have a right to permanent contracts instead of employment through subcontracting companies (the use of which the government seeks to generalise in the project of the new labour law) which live off the sweat of the workers while preventing them from receiving any social security benefits or participating in profit-related bonus schemes.

The signatories reaffirm their total support to the imprisoned Torah cement workers and that they will use all available peaceful means to secure their liberation in the face of the tyrannical rulers whose policies impoverish millions of Egyptians while repressing their protests.

The signatories call on human rights groups, trade unions and workers’ organisations in Egypt and the whole world asking them to show solidarity with the workers whose first appeal hearing will be held on June 18.

The signatories reaffirm the fundamental right of the working class to strike and demonstrate in the face of waves of price increases, impoverishment and exploitation. This right was hard won by the workers of Egypt through their long struggle and is protected by international conventions signed by Egypt as well as by the 2014 constitution.

Egyptian signatories


  • Bread and Freedom
  • Popular Socialist Alliance
  • Dignity Current
  • Strong Egypt
  • Dustour Party
  • Muhebb Abboud, workers and peasants secretary in the Social-Democratic Party


  • The Revolutionary Socialists
  • 6th April Youth Movement
  • 6th April Movement – Democratic Front
  • January Socialist Movement
  • Strong Egypt Students’ Movement
  • Front for the Defence of Journalists and Liberties
  • Legal Cooperative for Workers’ Consciousness


  • General Union of Tourism Workers
  • Egyptian Union of Oil Workers
  • Rashad Kamal, President of the Federation of Independent Suez Unions
  • Union of Workers in the Spinning, Weaving, Garment and Leather Industries
  • The General Union of Workers in the Port Said Free Zone
  • Amr Rashad, Qasr al-Aini al-Faransawi Hospital workers’ union
  • The Permanent Congress of Alexandria Workers
  • The Union of Private Sector Workers

Human Rights groups

  • Al Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence
  • Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
  • Egypt’s Conscience (Committee for the Defence of the Oppressed)
  • The Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights

International signatories

Mark Abel UK University & College Union Chair of Coordinating Committee
Nathan Agius Australia CFMEU
Umberto Albarella UK UCU
Fernández Gómez Alicia Spain
Holly Allen Australia NSWNMA Branch President
Ibrahim Alsahary Egypt journalsts journalst Freedom for the detainees Freedom for Egypt
Yvon Arendsen Netherlands
Aiman Badr Egypt
Paweł Bartolik Poland Surely this is blatantly contrary to what mass movements in Egypt, both in 2011 and 2013, fought for.
Joel Beinin USA Stanford University
David Binns UK University and College Union activist and branch committee member Solidarity with the Torah Cement workers. I will raise the issue in my UCU branch.
Susan Blackwell Netherlands FNV Solidarity will win!
Andre Bosch Australia
Maxine Brimblecombe UK UCU
Stephen Brown United Kingdom
vincent bruand france fsu All the fighting workers support your struggle.
Mick Buchan Australia CFMEU Branch Secretary Stay strong
Andreas Buerki Wales
Charles Butterworth USA
danny cain Australia MUA WA Assistant Secretary
Andre Capper Australia MUA Stevedore All the best brothers. This is a low action by your government.
Richard Carabine UK UCU health & safety rep
Matt Cathie Australia CFMEU Shop Steward Strength In Unity Comrades
Abelardo Clariana-Piga UK UCU
david cobham uk ucu
william collins USA National Writers Union
Emma Collison UK n/a n/a
Mahla Conomos Australia MUA / USU Campaigns Solidarity forever!
Petros Constantinou Greece Athens Municipality councilor Solidarity with the workers who demanded the right for dissent life
Dan Crumlin Australia MUA
John Cunningham UK UCU (retired) None
Erima Dall Australia Maritime Union of Australia
Coralie Daniels Australia Teachers federation
Craig Davidson Australia Cfmeu Delegate This is a disgrace and against all civil rights
Tomas Emmet de Bhaldraithe Australia RAFFWU
Deborah Dean UK UCU N/A
Paul Denison Canada OPSEU Steward Solidarity Comrades !
Caitlin Doyle-Markwick Australia NTEU (UNSW)
Jasmine Duff Australia United voice Solidarity!
Manfred Ecker Austria Neue Linkswende editor I am enraged by this unfair trial and this criminally unjust sentence the workers of the Torah Cement factory received. At the same time I am deeply moved from the news about their determined struggle.
Michael W Evans USA
Matthew Evans UK
John Faulkner UK UCU, SOAS University of London
Dianne Feeley United States of America UAW Local 22
Harry Feldman Australia
Keith Flett United Kingdom Secretary Haringey TUC Secretary
Andrew Gardner UK UCU
Mattia Giampaolo Italy
Richard Gilbert UK UCU
David Glanz Australia National Tertiary Education Union Branch committee member
Julian Goodare United Kingdom Universities and Colleges Union (UCU)
Robert Gowland Australia Communist Party of Australia Chairman of Sydney District Committee The right to organise and to strike is a fundamental right of all workers
Andrea Grivas Australia CFMEU EA
Alan Haggard United States
Merril Hammer UK UCU (retired) Everyone should have the right to strike. No workers should be impoverished!
Dan Hanford Australia Maritime Union of Australia Rank and file stevedore Stay strong comrades, you are an inspiration. If I could do more than this message I would.
Ani Hart Australia TWU delegate Your treatment has been totally unfair and unjust. You deserve freedom – NOW. All workers in your profession need to be able to speak out and ask for better conditions without the fear of treatment as you have received.
Elane Heffernan london UCU NEC Solidarity. The right to organise is a basic human right. The Egyptian people have a right to secure living standards–they produce the wealth!
Piers Hellawell UK UCU
Tommy-John Herbert Australia Maritime Union of Australia Member Kia Kaha ( Stay Strong ) Comrades!
Jon Hiesfelter USA
Owen Holland UK UCU
Lucy Honan Australia Australian Education Union Branch Councillor Stay strong comrades, solidarity
Vivian Honan Australia National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU)
Janet Hudgins Canada CUPE (retired)
mehdi husaini UK UCU member
Faten Hussein Egypt
Philip Inglesant UK UCU Branch equalities officer
Julia Jancso Germany
Julia Jancso Germany
Aziza Jansen Netherlands
David Johnson USA retired Workers Club member Solidarity Forever…
Dr Russell Jones UK U C U
Jan jSchultz Australia Membership Officer All workers have the right to stand up, fight back and work for their rights
Dionysis Kapsaskis Uk UCU
Stephen Key Australia CFMEU Good luck
Stephen Key Australia CFMEU Good luck
Neil Kirkland New Zealand Rail & Maritime Transport Union Member
Rick Kuhn Australia NTEU Life member
Melanie Lazarow Australia National Tertiary Education Union Life member The courage of the Egyptian workers, who have to still continue vicious assaults, is noted, and I wish these Workers at the Torah Cement company justice.
Fiona Leach United Kingdom Association of University Teachers
Maire Leadbeater New Zealand
Steve Leigh USA SEIU, retired The whole world is watching! You are fighting for workers everywhere! Keep up the fight !!
Michael Letwin US Labor for Palestine Co-Convener
Thomas Linane Australia MUA Rank and File Solidarity !!
Fred Lindop UK Llindop
John Lipetz UK Unite None
Anna Livingstone UK British Medical Association and UNITE Solidarity. Security workers are humans and deserve a fair deal. This imprisonment of people campaigning for permanent contracts with fair pay and conditions is a transgression of the human rights of the poor. Release them and provide the contracts.
Jordi Llabi spain
Christopher Lovelee Australia MUA Rank and file Stay strong!
Ricky Lowes UK
Ricky Lowes UK
Allister Mactaggart UK UCU Branch chair
Emma Major U.K. UCU
Motsomi Marobela Botswana International Socialits Botswana Coordinator Free speech is Egypt now! worker’s rights are human rights
Lachlan Marshall Australia Australian Education Union
Jessica Martin USA
Paul McAleer Australia Maritime Union of Australia Sydney Branch Secretary The MUA Sydney Branch stands in solidarity with you and joins in your struggle for justice
Lesley McBurney England N.U.T. Retired rep, committee memmber H. and Safety We stand in solidarity with Egyptian workers. We won’t forget these injustices.
Chris McCabe UK Unite Solidarity
Tim McCaskell Canada Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation NA
Joe McDonald Australia Maritime Union of Australia Activist
Ryan Mcgibbon Thompson Australia Maritime union of Australia Delegate
JUDY MCVEY AUSTRALIA CPSU SECTION COUNCILLOR I wish you solidarity and victory. Stay strong!
Savas Michael-Matsas Greece EEK General Secretary
Vinnie Molina Australia CFMEU WA Branch President Respect civil and democratic rights. Free the jailed workers.
John Morris Australia NSW Teachers union Canterbury-Bankstown Branch Secretary
Volkhard Mosler Germany Verdi/Die Linke
Briony Neilson Australia NTEU
Tristan Nelson Australia National Union of Students
Jimmy Oconnor Australia CFMEU Assistant secretary Stay strong
Eric Olson United Kingdom UCU
Steve Ongerth US IWW member
mike orr Scotland University College Union
Ron Parsons USA Carpenters Rank and File Standing up for all the workers in the world.
Gerry Pettifer Australia CFMEU Ohs rep Power in numbers, keep fighting comrades
Jesse Phillippe
Neil Pollick England None None The regime needs to be overthrown, it is pointless to “ask” them to behave better, it is a regime of injustice, exploitation and lies, a government of murderers and thieves who need to be in prison.
Tom Potter USA AFSCME Local 3650 (personal identification) rank and file member Respect, Admiration, Solidarity, Victory!
Professor Malcolm Povey Uk UCU
Colin Price UK UCU Rank and file member
John Quinn UK UCU member
Andrew Ramsay Australia CFMEU Work Health and Safety Coordinator
Steve Rayner Australia CFMEU
Nick Riemer Australia National Tertiary Education Union Committe member, University of Sydney branch Solidarity from Australia. Striking is a basic human right and must not be criminalized.
Darryl Robb New Zealand Munz Rank and file Never give up your fight . The trade union world is watching.
Mick Robinson Australia Cfmeu Qld/ Nt Official
samuel robson spain CGT
Liz Ross Australia Socialist Alternative Solidarity! Dare to struggle, Dare to win!
Hermann Rupp Deutschland ver.di
Tippu S UK UCU
Steve Salter Australia Maritime Union of Australia Member United we stand
Jordan Sanger Australia Cfmeu / etu Member I hope you boys get out !
Ian Schultz Australia USU Member Do not give up.
Jan Schultz Australia Membership Officer All workers have the right to stand up, fight back and work for their rights
Timothy Schultz Australia Community and Public Sector Union member
Patrick Scott England National Union of Journalists
Amanda Sebestyen UK NUJ/ Camden Momentum/ Holborn & St Pancras Labour Party GC delegate, Camden Town with Primrose Hill
Eddie Seymour Australia Maritime Union of Australia Rank and File retired Workers of the world are all one, what effects a worker in another country effects us all.
Francisco Simon Germany The Left (Die Linke) Solidarity with the workers’ strikes in Egypt! Freedom for all political prisoners!
Dr Melissa Slee Australia National Tertiary Education Union Branch President, RMIT University
Luke Smith Australua ETU Electrician Nil
Ron Smith USA Bucknell University Assistant Professor
Allan Snook Australia ETU This should not happen
Frank STILWELL Australia NTEU Member
Susan Stout Canada UNIFOR retired we all need the right to organise!
Marian Swerdlow USA UFT – AFT, AFL – CIO
Peter t Hoen Netherlands
Andrea Teti UK
Amy Thomas Australia National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) Casual Representative, Branch Committee, University of Technology Sydney, NTEU
Michael Thomson Australia National Tertiary Education Union NSW State Secretary
Norman Traub UK Labour Party Nil
Mike Treen New Zealand Unite Union National Director All workers must have the freedom to struggle – humanity’s future depends on it!
Audrey van Ryn New Zealand N/A
Dianne Varga Canada HSA
Stephen Wagg UK University and College Union
Troy Wasson Australia NTEU Member Solidarity Comrades
Maureen Watson scotland
B Weightman UK
John Wood United Kingdom
Pam Wortley United Kingdom Unite