CAIRO: Egyptian workers experienced their toughest year in 2009, Adel William, Children of Earth Foundation for Human Rights Executive Director, told Daily News Egypt Thursday.
“The pavements outside Cabinet and the People’s Assembly have turned into a venue for workers’ protests,” he added.
Released Wednesday by Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights and Children of Earth Foundation for Human Rights, “Egypt Workers 2009” is the first in a series of publications titled “Workers and Social Activities.”
The 560-page book consists of a number of reports covering the state of workers in Egypt throughout 2009.
“We cooperated in collecting reports written by the two centers, and combining them into one book. It took us about four months to prepare and edit it,” William noted.
The reports were collected through human rights activists, workers as well as monitors in the two centers.
The book highlights the ordeals to which Egyptian workers are routinely subjected.
It affirms that a total of 478 industrial actions by workers, including 184 sit-ins, 123 strikes, 79 demonstrations and 27 rallies took place in 2009.
Strikes represented 38 percent of the protests, followed by 26 percent of work stoppage, 17 percent demonstrations, 14 percent sit-ins and 6 percent rallies.
The highest rate has to do with public sector workers, 47 percent, while 37 percent of protests were held by private sector workers and 16 percent by public enterprise sector laborers.
About 126,000 workers lost their jobs throughout 2009. Fifty-eight people committed suicide for not being able to fulfill the basic needs of their families.
The lack of industrial safety equipment is another threat facing workers in Egypt. Based on the book, 133 workers were killed and 1,206 others injured at their work places last year.
Public sector employees faced problems such as employers’ non-compliance with wage increase decrees and overdue bonuses, the book said.
Temporary employment is a crisis facing over 500,000 employees, who are manipulated during the due date for renewing their contracts and deprived of all their labor rights.
The book further points out that the government, embodied in the Ministry of Manpower and Immigration did not take any serious steps to protect workers’ interests.