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The Day for Egyptian Workers
Egyptian Workers and Employees …. to everyone who works for a living and cannot make ends meet
For many years you have been demanding your rights – for many years your protest movement did not stop in the cities of El Mahalla, Ismailia, 10th of Ramadan and in Helwan – in lower Egypt (the Delta) and in Upper Egypt.... from El Mahallah Gazal (spinning) company to the Aluminum complex of factories, to the Tanta Kitan (linen) factory, Cotton factory in Nubariyya, Nasr Automobile Co., Amonsito factory, and the Salmako company – from the real estate tax collectors to the workers in education, in the health sector, contract workers in the Ministry of Agriculture to the workers in the information centers in the Cabinet of Ministers .. Over the last four years your strikes have not stopped, your protests and demonstrations … and over the months the pavement in front of the Peoples’ Assembly has never been empty; always full of teams made up of you the workers spending the nights sprawled on the ground without any covers. Many have kept up their protests for tens, even hundreds of days before they find their voices heard or someone willing to negotiate with them … we have heard government ministers, those responsible leaders, leaders in the government federation of trade unions say to us: “no one will twist our arms” (force us) .. “This is what there is and if you are not happy then go ‘with a shoe hit on your head’” As if we are slaves waiting for charity. As if it is only their country and we are only entitled to oppression and deprivation.
For years, we have been demanding for decent wages that are enough .. to meet our children’s needs for decent humane housing, the right for medical treatment and medical care that cures and does not kill .. and for them (the leaders) their ears no longer function (they cannot hear us anymore). Egypt has become a country of contradictions just like world reports say. The highest level of imports are private planes, the highest number of imports of Mercedes cars in the developing world – and forty percent live under the poverty line and half suffer from severe poverty – with billions of dollars in overseas banks and we are not able to monitor our domestic wealth or even our choices. Gangs of corruption and those who corrupt others protected behind their mansions (castles) … we are faced with an emergency law that has ruled us for thirty years and a police system that is foisted on us from every angle … humiliation and torture our identity … that is possible for any of us to be subjected to because one is not “the son of so and so”. The balance, the plate is overflowing and decent life is not therefore possible.
Then, there was the youth’s revolution, our sons and daughters who have refused a life of humiliation. They have refused life under the humiliation of unemployment, and the silence of oppression … they went out to the streets and with them all sectors of the Egyptian people … our sons and daughters who have faced the live bullets with their bare chests and at a minimum 300 of them have fallen as martyrs. 300 young persons have paid with their lives as a price for our freedom and to free us from the humiliation of slavery that we suffer from. And now the road, the path is open for all of us.
Here ye workers, employees of Egypt … you who have started the countdown for the day of departure starting four years ago. Freedom is at our doors and the opening of the road is in front of securing our rights.
Freedom is not just the demand of youth only … the change of the regime that has oppressed and manipulated us is not just a demand of the youth alone …we want freedom so that we can express our demands and rights … so we can find a way to monitoring our resources (wealth of our country) and the result of our hard work that is being stolen … so that we can re-distribute with some sense of justice … so that varying levels/sectors/classes of society who have been put down/oppressed can get more of what it is owed to them so that they are at least not suffering from the evil of hunger anymore and what comes next of pains from illness.
They have taken a decision yesterday for a 15% increase in wages and pensions.. . not paying attention that this increase is not sufficient to cover the increase in consumer goods during last year. We have gotten sick of this “old game” that is being repeated again where the increase in prices eat up the wage increases. Now these games are not plausible or acceptable. We will not sell our blood with over 300 martyrs for a 15% wage increase! The martyrs sacrificed with their lives for a decent life and freedom. Your efforts will not fall short and the newly found misery with the unbalanced national budget. Return the stolen public funds from European banks to pay off the budget imbalance and shortage. Reduce the budget for the police apparatus that has since withdrawn from the streets during that “black night” when the thugs were unleashed on us trained in their police stations. All of this has to end, it is our right to know and to discuss and to monitor how spending takes place and how spending priorities are made. It is our right to negotiate and to decide for ourselves our wages and rights .. it is our right to monitor our country’s resources and where it is going …..
All the Egyptian people are now demanding their freedom and right to a decent life with dignity and social justice. All the Egyptian people is demanding now the bringing down of the regime that has suffocated our voices, caused our hunger, putting on trial the corrupt and those who corrupt others and the return of our stolen funds … so let us raise our voices and ensure we get the following demands:
- Minimum and maximum fair wage so as not to increase the ratio between them a dozen times, but at least the minimum of a thousand and two hundred pounds and to increase according to the price increase, and to include wages and accordingly with the calculated increment of at least ten percent annually, taking into account allowances for the nature and risks of work and a meal allowance that would correspond with the current prices.
- Provide an umbrella of treatment and adequate health care that is real for all wage earners in all sectors, including the treatment of all diseases without limit and regardless of the nature of the job, pay and working hours.
- Install all temporary workers in permanent jobs in the government and administrative units and public enterprise sector, and to consider the temporary employment contracts and units in the private sector as full-time and not temporary employment contracts from a legal perspective.
- The announcement of a national plan to deal with employment and to face unemployment and to compensate the unemployed – an unemployment allowance for at least 75% of the minimum wage while providing an opportunity for suitable work for them.
- Equality between workers in different sectors, particularly between workers in the local administrations (municipalities) and the personnel (staff) of the ministries, and the implementation of judicial decisions with the rulings in favor of certain individuals without having to wait for all these judicial decisions to be taken. It was reported that the amounts withheld from employees without the retroactive right to and in particular the return of social allowances - which accounts for 22.5% - which is not calculated for pensioners.
And before and after all of the above - the right of Egyptian workers to form independent trade unions, which represent them and express them freely, and the lifting of all restrictions imposed on it in order not to go back again to sleeping on the pavement of the People's Assembly without finding those would hear us or negotiate with us ... So that we can negotiate our wages to increase in concert with the increase in prices .. In order to stay organized and able to defend our rights if we are assaulted.
Workers and employees of Egypt.. Egypt has returned to its prestigious position under the sun thanks to its wonderful young people.. The world has now seen our true image - which failed due to the corrupting attack scenes of horses and camels - a civilized people that believes in justice and freedom.. And our sons have paid with their blood for a decent life for all categories of the people.
The world has heard your voices demanding your rights and is in solidarity with you today.. The workers have made, everywhere in the world, the eighth of February, a day of solidarity with the workers of Egypt.
Listen to the shouts of solidarity, which workers everywhere are releasing and thus confirming that they know how strong you are.. How you are free and you can get back your lost rights.
General Trade Union of the real estate tax collectors (independent)
Federation of Pensioners (retirees)
Labor leaders across Egypt
Center for Trade Union and Worker Services (CTUWS)