Egyptian workers fight for their rights

This video about Egypt says about itself:

Interview Nasr Awad – sacked by Kraft/Mondelez

May 10, 2013

Trade union leader and sacked Kraft/Mondelez worker Nasr Awad outlines how Cadbury’s parent company Mondelez International dismissed him and other trade union leaders for speaking out about health and safety abuses and trying to represent workers legitimate claims.

The global snack company which is now led by former Kraft CEO, Irene Rosenfeld, has also locked out legitimate trade unions at sites in Tunisia and Egypt.

With the help of the International Union of Food Workers and support from Unite and other unions Nasr and his colleagues have launched a campaign to get Mondelez to pay attention to and deal with these human rights abuses.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

‘The first time that workers from all over Egypt have come together on strike’

WORKERS from electricity companies from around the country went on strike in Egypt on Sunday.

Workers Media Coordinator at the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) Dalia Moussa said that the workers have been treated unequally and have complained of increasing corruption in the Ministry of Electricity and Energy.

‘Those who work in the holding company have more privileges than those who work in the subsidy companies,’ Moussa said.

She said that school grants for workers’ children are deducted from their bonuses although the grants are provided by the government.

She added that this is the first time that workers from all over Egypt have come together on strike.

According to ECESR, the workers are demanding workers from the holding company and the subsidy companies be given the same rights, healthcare be provided for them and their families, school grants be given to the workers’ children, and all syndicates be treated equally.

Ahmed Moheb, secretary general of the Electricity and Energy Workers Union, said that the council demanded the formation of a delegation of workers to negotiate with the Ministry of Electricity and Energy.

The workers refused to form the delegation because they have previously met with the ministry and only received empty promises from officials, according to Wael Aql, president of the Workers Union.

‘We are going to hold out for a concrete timetable setting out when our demands will be addressed,’ Moheb said.

He added that if this timetable is not issued soon, workers will go on an open-ended strike.

Also on Sunday, the 6 April Democratic Front began a sit-in, in front of the Presidential Palace in solidarity with two men who were in prison awaiting questioning, scheduled for Monday.

The two men are Abdelrahman ‘Mano’ Mohsen and Youseff ‘Joseph El-Ostura’ Ali, who were both arrested in dawn raids on their homes on 19 April.

Mohsen is a formal member of the front while Ali is closely associated with the group. The two men are accused of being members of the Black Bloc group.

The Democratic Front met in front of Saray Al-Qobba metro station on Sunday afternoon, having announced in a statement that they would erect a mock prison cell ‘which symbolises complete solidarity with the detainees’.

The front’s statement said the Free Front for Political Change and members of the newly formed ‘Hanharrarhom’ (We Will Free Them) campaign would also take part in the sit-in.

Mustafa Al-Hagary, spokesperson for the front, said that the sit-in is not only for Mohsen and Ali, but also for all detainees.

The statement from the group said the demonstration would ‘demand their (the detainees’) release and denounce violations of the Ministry of Interior, the Prosecutor General and the selective arrests by the Muslim Brotherhood regime and (President Mohammed) Mursi’.

The front has been actively calling for the release of detained activists over the last month.

In April, they demonstrated outside the New Cairo Court in the Fifth Settlement in solidarity with detained political activists.

Also in April, members of the front cycled around central Cairo in order to raise awareness for their cause. Last Friday the group also marched to the Giza security directorate.

The 6 April Youth Movement, a separate group of the same origin, demonstrated outside the High Court on Saturday and also called for the release of detained activists, including Mohsen and Ali.

The front intends to remain outside the Presidential Palace until after Mohsen and Ali are interrogated on Monday, said Al-Hagary.

Meanwhile, April 6 founder Ahmed Maher has survived a serious car accident in which his car was written off.

Maher’s car hit a parked truck on the Cairo ring road on Monday.

He was taken to Ahly Bank Hospital and released shortly afterwards.

Maher is currently at South Cairo police station filing a report into the incident.

Mohamed Adel, a founding member of April 6, said Maher has injuries to his arm and leg but they are not serious.

Maher doesn’t know if the accident was caused by a criminal act or not, Adel added.

Police arrested Maher on Friday for ‘inciting protests’ outside the interior minister’s Cairo residence in March.

More than simply calling for protests, Maher was arrested for the nature of the protest on 29 March at the home of Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim in Cairo.

Protesters held up banners – along with women’s undergarments – accusing the ministry of ‘prostituting’ itself to President Mohamed Mursi’s administration.

Four other April 6 members were arrested and charged with rioting and resisting police after security forces dispersed the protest.

Maher was, however, released from prison on Saturday, pending investigations by the Prosecutor-General, as the charges against him remain in place.

After his release on Saturday, Maher said: ‘What is taking place now is worse than what was being experienced during Mubarak’s time and the only difference is that Mursi is doing it with a religious tint.’

He reflected on his place of detention, the Aqrab Prison, which he said is in exactly the same state as it was during the Mubarak era.

Maher decried that all those who decided to put their differences aside and support Mursi in the 2012 presidential elections against Mubarak-era minister Ahmed Shafiq (including Maher himself) have been viciously deceived.

On Saturday, political analyst and member of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, Emad Gad, and veteran leftist writer, Amina Shafiq, were stopped at the Cairo International Airport because their names allegedly resemble those of listed terrorists.

Gad said that this was a clear message to him and Shafiq, as they had both travelled in an out of Egypt for many years and this was the first time they had been subjected to such treatment.

Gad, who is also a member of the opposition umbrella group the National Salvation Front, condemned what he claimed to be flagrant violations by the authorities targeting the youth and public figures.

5 thoughts on “Egyptian workers fight for their rights

  1. Pingback: New app for boycotting Koch Brothers, Monsanto, etc. | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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