Home / news / Demanding for the most basic rights … Labor protests and sit-ins sweeping the Egyptian regions

Demanding for the most basic rights … Labor protests and sit-ins sweeping the Egyptian regions

In the midst of the state of anger and the rare demonstrations that began in Egypt on September 20, for the second year in a row, a parallel movement is taking place led by thousands of workers and employees in many sectors, amid a “suspicious” media silence towards their needs and demands.

Thousands of employees of the companies affiliated to the “Egypt Holding Insurance” company at the level of the Republic, which include the largest insurance companies in the country, reject the list of human resources for business sector companies, after amending the Public Business Sector Law No. 203.

The public business sector companies are state-owned, and it includes 8 holding companies, which are the Holding Company for Spinning and Weaving, Maritime Transport, Tourism and Hotels, Medicines and Medical Supplies, as well as the Holding for Chemical Industries, Insurance, Metal Industries, Construction and Development, followed by about 119 other companies.

The total employees in the business sector companies amounted to 209 thousand workers, and those companies achieved profits of about 11 billion pounds (626 million dollars) during the fiscal year 2017-2018, including 48 losing companies and 73 profitable companies.

An employee at Misr Life Insurance confirmed the workers ’rejection of the list, saying:“ The new regulation wants us to take away our salaries, grants and bonuses, meaning a deduction of 60% of our wages, and afford us transportation, insurance documents, etc., and if they apply the list, we will not find what we spend on our families. ”

The employee – and Wael claimed – explained that “the company has supplied profits to the state treasury with a value of two billion pounds, but the minister wants to equalize the wages of the losing and profitable companies in the business sector, and if it is in the interest of the employee, why is it not equal to the workers in the lower companies (with their counterparts) in the higher companies? .

But the Minister of Public Business, Hisham Tawfiq, denied these allegations, and said in press statements that “the new regulation does not aim to diminish the rights of workers, but rather regulates the relationship between what workers receive and what the state obtains, as it is a major shareholder and owner of companies’ capital.”

Thousands of workers at the “Workers University” in Cairo and its branches nationwide, one of the establishments of the General Federation of Egyptian Trade Unions, continued their open sit-in to protest against the non-payment of wages and salaries last September, amid a financial crisis that plagues the university.

Prison and season

A few days ago, the State Security Emergency Court in Suez sentenced 20 workers and 6 members of the Syndicate of Workers of the National Company for Steel Industries, one of the Orascom Construction and Development companies, for a year, with a fine of 30,000 pounds and a 1,000-pound bail for each of them, on charges of inciting a strike.

The Observatory for Trade Unions, Labor Protests and Social Movements affiliated with the “Arab Network for Human Rights Information” (independent civilian), documented 19 protests in Egypt – 8 workers and professional workers and 11 socially – from September 15 to the end of the same month.

At the beginning of this October, 40 companies terminated work contracts for thousands of workers during the Corona pandemic, and some of these companies belong to the state, according to a report issued by the Trade Union and Workers Services House, entitled “The conditions of Egyptian workers in light of the Corona crisis and future prospects.”

On the other hand, the Egyptian government says that it provides social programs to protect those affected, such as the (temporary) irregular employment grant, due to the Corona pandemic crisis, amounting to 500 pounds ($ 31), but it is not sufficient, according to many workers.

Unfair decisions

In his comment, Karim Noubi, a labor researcher at the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, said, “There is a labor movement due to unfair laws and legislation that the government approves daily, the last of which is the unified list for the business sector, and the list rejecting that law is expanding.”

In his speech to Al-Jazeera Net, he stressed that the Egyptian government is now reaping the fruits of what it has planted by tightening the screws on trade union freedoms and closing the public space, indicating that the state of anger among thousands of workers and workers is legitimate because the state’s decisions and policies harm their daily livelihood.

Nubians underestimated the value of the aid that the Egyptian government disburses to some of the affected groups, saying: The value of the aid that the government talks about is very shameful, because it does not get rich or fatten from hunger, and the percentage of those who spend the aid is small compared to the number of workers and workers affected.

Popular anger, not workers

For his part, former Egyptian parliamentary labor leader Tariq Morsi said, “The workers ‘sit-in and protests are not only a harbinger of workers’ anger, but rather is part of the intense tension and anger sweeping the entire Egyptian people, starting from the middle and lower classes and marginalized groups, even the affluent and wealthy classes that are suffering. The others are haunted by anger, and I firmly believe that the extent of the anger and boiling over the Egyptian people is a harbinger of a complete revolution. “

In a statement to Al-Jazeera Net, he expressed his belief that it is wrong to attribute any protests in Egypt to the Corona pandemic, but rather as a result of the Sisi’s wrong and gross policies against workers and employees through either unfair decisions or laws such as the last list.

Regarding the government’s allegations that it has adopted social programs to help the affected people, Morsi mocked the size of these aid, saying: It is not mentioned, and it cannot be called aid, but rather it is a tactical phased retreat in the face of street pressure, and the deterioration of employment conditions, whether irregular or in the affected sectors, The temporary scholarships will not last for long because the economic situation does not allow them to continue.

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