Protests in the face of bestiality
The Land Center for human Rights issued report No. (56) of the economic and social rights series issued by the center, in view of the continuing worker”s strikes, that Egypt has not witnessed for a long time, protesting the privatization policies, and the failure to cash their dues. The report is about worker”s protests during the first half of 2007.
In its first part the report presents a background on the political, economic and Social scene in Egypt and shows the negative effects of violating the civil rights on the democratic margin, especially with the continuing arbitrary practice of authority against civil society organizations. The report also shows the increase in the number of unemployed people and the impact of this on the deterioration of social conditions. It also shows violation of the right to freedom of association and the right to organize; it shows the deteriorating conditions of farmers and the increased violence against them during the first half of 2007.
The second part of the report shows that the volume of protests in the first half of 2007 has reached (283) protests in the three sectors (governmental – private – public enterprise). The protests of the governmental sector came in the first place with (122) protests, followed by the protests of the private sector (96) protests and the protests of Public Enterprise Sector (65) protests.
The third part of the report points out the protests of the private sector workers, which witnessed (96) protests. These protests consisted of (33) rallies, (32) pickets, (25) strikes, and (6) demonstrations.
The fourth part of the report shows the protests of the public enterprise sector workers, which saw (65) worker”s protests consisting of (22) rallies and strikes, (19) pickets and (2) demonstrations.
In its fifth part the report presents some results, the most important of which are:
– Protests will continue to mount because so far the government has not offered any solutions to the causes of these protests, and because the problem lies in the policies applied by the government, which violates the rights of workers and citizens.
– The worker protests is a kind of collective venting of the anger that lies in the hearts of workers and citizens due to the deteriorating conditions, the rising of prices, the fall in real wages, and the deterioration of the working environment.
– The increase in the numbers of unemployed people, the lack of employment opportunities, the acceleration of the privatization of state companies and bodies, and the deteriorating conditions of the right to housing and public services, health care, and educational and social security contributed to the escalation of the protests and also widened the gap between the rich and the poor.
– Some of the protests have succeeded in achieving the demands of workers and that is because the sectors that have succeeded in achieving their demands are the sectors that have a direct impact on the public.
– Protests showed how vulnerable the syndicalistic organization is and how it is a subordinated to the government.
– The recent strikes revealed the importance of the women”s role, which requires giving more attention to their role and their ability to play significant roles in the future.
– The recent protests revealed that many groups and professions lost their confidence in the individuals, institutions, ways, and laws of the government and went into demonstrations and strikes.
– The recent protests revealed how the Egyptian people unite in the face of poverty and the abuse of their rights and interests.
– During this period, the protests have showed the different aspects that must be addressed in order to learn how workers succeed and why they fail.
– The worker strikes revealed some failures and obstacles to the protest movement. The LCHR believes that the most important factors of this failure are as follows:
• The retardation of the political, social and cultural framework from which these strikes were lunched.
• The isolation and vulnerability of most political forces and civil society organizations and their lack of interest and belief to defend the issues of workers and their right to a decent life and the absence of the values of solidarity, cooperation and struggle between the different social groups to improve the quality of life for all people.
• The lack of experience and awareness of most union leaders.
In its sixth part, the report concludes with some recommendations:
To rationalize the sale of land, companies and banks; to pay the due wages and incentives of workers; to fix temporary employment, to implement the principles of equality and equity between workers and to set a minimum standard of wages for all workers in Egypt; to support the rights of workers to demonstrate and strike, assemble and issue publications; and to cancel the necessity of obtaining the unions approval to go on strike and allow them to establish independent unions.
The LCHR asks all the civil society organizations and members of the People”s Assembly and Shura Council and all political forces to unite in solidarity with the workers and to support and work with them to ensure their rights to decent work, organization, assembly, demonstration and participation, and to stop the privatization of public services and improve the conditions of our society for a better tomorrow, a more just future, and a homeland that ensures social peace, safety, justice and freedom for all citizens.
For a copy of the report please contact the Center or visit our website.
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