Independent trade unions are calling for a mass demonstration in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on 1 May, Labour Day. According to a press release from the Federation of Independent Trade Unions, all national forces are invited to “support the demands advocated by the workers”.
The press release was distributed on Saturday to various companies and unions, saying that 1 May will not be a day of celebration but rather a day for workers to reiterate the demands of the revolution: “Bread, freedom, social justice and human dignity.”
The Federation called on all political forces to join the workers.
Aside from the call for bread, freedom, social justice and human dignity, the statement said a minimum and maximum wage law remains a core demand for workers. Other demands include ensuring trade union freedoms, an end to the abuse of workers, and addressing the issue of rising prices.
According to Fatma Ramadan, the spokesperson for the union and head of its Strike Committee, the Union also demands the government address the issues surrounding a halt in production at several factories over the past few years.
The statement said that 4,500 factories have closed, adding that there is a need for the government to address the issue by reopening factories that were closed after losing their contract due to rulings by the Administrative Court.
“We are holding a meeting on Monday with representatives from all the trade unions and several political groups in order to decide exactly what steps should be taken,” Ramadan said.
The statement also said the government must recover state assets that have been smuggled overseas and increase the budget for education, health, and scientific research.
The Union rejected the austerity measures that form pre-conditions for obtaining the International Monetary Fund loan, which they said will lead to an “increase in the impoverishment of the Egyptian people and in particular the working class”.
The statement concluded by calling on all political groups to participate in the protest under a shared umbrella of reform and revolution.
Ramadan said that 1 May will be about more than just the workers’ plight. “We want to spark a wider movement,” she said.