An Alexandria-based appeals court on Sunday overturned the convictions of five workers charged with illegally inciting a strike.
The five workers belong to the Alexandria Container Holding company. Suzan Nada, lawyer at the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) and the coordinator of the Permanent Conference of Alexandria’s Workers, said the workers had earlier been sentenced to three years imprisonment in absentia.
The convictions were for inciting a strike and causing financial losses to a company.
The five workers are, according to the ECESR, Ahmed Sadeq, Yousry Ma’rouf, Ashraf Mahmoud, Essam Mabrouk and Mohamed Abdel-Moneim.
Dozens protested outside the court in a show of solidarity with the workers, state-owned Al-Ahram reported.
Nada said the right to strike is preserved in the constitution. However she claimed the law criminalises strikes indirectly.
“It includes some very harsh conditions… It is an unjust law,” she said, adding that several political parties and unions oppose it.
Nada added that the law allows the oppression of workers who can face arbitrary transfers or salary deductions and, in some cases, arrests for striking.
In addition to being sentenced to imprisonment, the workers were also suspended from work and fined. Their last hearing on 7 April was postponed to 16 June.
The strike the workers were being tried for was in 2011.