Labour unions, political parties and activists issued a joint statement Saturday commemorating Labour Day with an attack on the government’s “bias” in favour of businessmen against workers.
The statement cited banning strikes, legislations favouring businessmen, and forging charges against workers, as the main acts by the government aiming to hinder labour movements.
“The government intensified its raid on workers’ rights to bury alive the labour movements that returned to demand a stop to cutting wages and incentives and to counter corruption and the policies that are fully biased to businessmen and investors,” the statement read.
The signatories, including representatives of the Misr Al-Qawia, Bread and Freedom and Al-Dostour parties, highlighted that this year’s Labour Day was welcomed by a court’s decree to force into retirement any employee charged with striking.
The statement also criticised President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s celebration of the day with the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF), the chairman of which, Gebali Al-Maraghy, presented Al-Sisi with a workers ‘code of conduct’. The code says the ETUF refuses strikes, and instead commits itself to “dialogue with the government and business owners as a mechanism to achieve social justice”.
“We announce our rejection of all the arbitrary practices against workers, and the attempts at depriving them of all of their arms, on top of which is their right to strike, sit-in and demonstrate,” the statement added.
It concluded by affirming support to the workers’ demands for fair wages, union freedoms, and safe and stable jobs.