Reprise d'une grève en Égypte
Des employés de la plus grande usine d'Égypte ont repris leur mouvement de grève aujourd'hui pour réclamer hausses de salaires et meilleures conditions de travail, au lendemain d'une mise en garde de l'armée contre les conséquences «désastreuses» de nouveaux mouvements sociaux.
Faiçal Naoucha, un des organisateurs de la grève, a indiqué à l'AFP que le personnel de l'entreprise publique Misr Filature et Tissage qui emploie quelque 24.000 personnes à Mahallah, dans le delta du Nil, demande aussi le départ de deux des directeurs de l'usine. Les ouvriers avaient suspendu leur grève il y a trois jours. Aucun mouvement social n'avait eu lieu en Égypte hier, jour férié marquant l'anniversaire de la naissance du prophète Mahomet.
Inquiète de la tourmente économique que traverse l'Égypte, l'armée égyptienne, en charge du pouvoir depuis la démission vendredi du président Hosni Moubarak, avait prévenu mardi que de nouvelles grèves seraient «désastreuses» pour le pays. L'armée «est consciente des conditions sociales et économiques que traverse la société, mais ces problèmes ne peuvent pas être résolus avant la fin des grèves et des sit-in», avait-elle dit, citée par l'agence officielle Mena.
Leur presse (Agence Faut Payer), 16 février 2011.
Labour Anger Does Not End With Mubarak
Before his ouster on Friday, toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had made one of the biggest mistakes of his reign; not learning from the lessons of hundreds of small labour and professional strikes that littered the country since 2005. These were the actual precursors to the Jan. 25 Revolution that end his 30-year autocratic rule.
“We were lucky that the regime failed in its arrogance and aloofness to draw lessons from the many strikes and protests over the past five years,” said Mohammed Fathy, 46, a labour activist in El-Mahala, whose bid for office in the government-sponsored General Labour Union was stifled because of his anti-regime views.
“We were even luckier that they didn’t understand that there were genuine economic, professional and labour grievances; especially here in Al-Mahala on April 6, 2008.”
It was on April 6, 2008 that Egypt saw the first example, in decades, of labour action spilling over into a popular uprising — a mini revolution on the streets of this industrial city that attracted men, women and children.
It was here that labour activists organized two days of massive protests that saw local residents leaving their homes, and pulling down Mubarak's pictures and posters for the first time since he came to office in 1981.
That signaled the birth of the anti-Mubarak Internet activists group, the April 6 Movement which took its name from that historic day.
Two years later, the group helped organise the events of Jan. 25, 2011. This time, they succeeded in pulling down not only Mubarak’s pictures but Mubarak himself.
Had Mubarak taken note of the labour protests, he may have learned some ways to pre-empt or foil the Jan. 25 Revolution, labour leaders here say.
“The reaction of the Mubarak supporters was that we are just a bunch of kids who can be easily crushed by the police. Their only response was more and more security — nothing political and nothing economic. They didn’t realize how upset the country’s labour force is,” Fathy said.
The country’s labour force is upset indeed — even today, days after Mubarak’s ouster. Years of police harassment, anti-worker policies and poor economic conditions have left a deep scar on the country’s workers who until today feel left out of a rightful place.
Little wonder then that labour protests continue here unabated, prompting the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces, that is running the country, to issue its fifth communiqué specifically calling on labour leaders to tone down their protests.
The interim government of Ahmed Shafiq had complained to the Supreme Council that continuing strikes are not helping bring life back to normal in this nation of 85 million.
Almost every sector of the economy; from chemicals production to schools and telecommunications is being affected.
The Central Bank of Egypt had to give the banking sector an unplanned holiday on Monday, to go with a religious holiday on Tuesday, in a bid to foil growing strikes among bank workers demanding investigation into high payment for top executives.
Even the police are blaming poor pay for corruption within the force, and are protesting for better job benefits.
This wave of post-Mubarak strikes is highlighting a split among labour leaders; between those who want immediate benefits for workers in the heat of the moment and those who want to give the new caretaker government some time to catch its breath, and time to meet labour demands.
“We should give the new rule some time, but fight for rights still,” said Mohamed Mourad, a railway worker and labour activist in El-Mahala.
Mourad said Mubarak’s fall is meanwhile good news for the country’s disgruntled workforce as it means an end to some of the anti-workers policies.
“With Mubarak gone, his policies that impoverished workers and pulverized independent labour unions will be gone too,” said Mourad as he sipped black tea in his railway office surrounded by several co-workers nodding in support.
Mourad specifically mentioned policies of privatizing state-run companies, tampering with labour union elections, and police interference as impediments that will sink with Mubarak.
While this may be true, it still doesn’t offer immediate relief for impatient workers, suppressed and suffering for years.
Here in El-Mahala the average base salary for textile workers at Egypt for Weaving and Spinning, the largest textile factory in the Middle East with 25,000 workers, is only 600 Egyptian pounds (102 dollars). Most workers end up working one or more extra jobs.
For that to be corrected, they suggest that the new government work to confiscate billions in dollars in wealth of corrupt members of the former regime and invest that for the benefits of workers.
Mubarak spent heavily on security and that could be trimmed too to re- channel funds for the impoverished workers, according to Hamdi Hussein, a leading labour activist.
Labour leaders say that most strikes and labour protests have three goal; ending corruption at the top management at some companies, increasing the minimum base wage to at least 1,500 Egyptian pounds (255 dollars), and holding free elections for labour unions.
“If those three demands are not meet soon,” said Hussein, who works for the Coordinating Committee for Labour Freedoms and Rights, “workers will continue to act until the revolution means real change for them.”
Leur presse (Emad Mekay,
IPS News), 15 février.
Grève des archéologues
Protest at the Supreme Council of Antiquities
Around 200 archaeologists gathered today at the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) in Zamalek to protest corruption, low wages and lack of contracts. They had a list of demands they were hoping to present to the newly appointed minister of Egypt's Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, but failed to do so when he slid out of the building from a side door to avoid confrontation with the protesters. An army tank showed up at the front door of the SCA building at around 4pm, and about a half hour later, Hawass had left the building.
Although the protesters grievances were mostly focused on low wages and lack of jobs, there were chants against Zahi Hawass himself, whom they see as a self-promoting dictator of antiquities, as well as chants against the rampant corruption that plagues the SCA institution. The protesters decided to give their list of demands to the army in hope that they would follow through — these included 1. Prosecuting Zahi Hawass for corruption and accountability for the theft of 18 masterpieces from the Cairo Museum 2. Demanding a minimum wage of 1200 LE 3. Demanding jobs for new graduates.
almahrusa.blogspot.com, 15 février.
Grèves à Dakahlia - 13 février
Le comité de coordination des ouvriers de Petrotrade appelle à la grève générale jusqu’à la satisfaction de leurs revendications
Egypt: Call for a general strike of Petrotrade workers
An example of the militancy of the Egyptian workers is this statement issued by the higher coordination committee of the Petrotrade workers, calling on workers at the company for an open ended strike until their demands are met.
Grève des ouvriers de la pétrochimie - 14 février
The higher coordination committee of the Petrotrade workers calls all employees to a general strike at all company sites and to an open-ended sit-in at all the company's different locations in Cairo and other governorates and a sit-in in front of the Ministry of Petroleum starting on Sunday, February 13 and until all the demands of the company's workers are met, noting that the right to strike is guaranteed by law and the Constitution and international conventions signed by Egypt.
Workers’ negotiations with the leadership of the Ministry of Petroleum (Sameh Fahmi) have failed miserably due to the insistence of the ministry not to apply the old agreed upon list of demands/rules and their attempt to apply another list in return for carrying out a few improvements which was rejected by the company's workers who insisted on achieving the following demands:
1. Resignation of Sameh Fahmi sponsor of exporting Egyptian gas to Israel;
2. Dismissal of the Board of Directors, chaired by Mohamed Darwish and the appointment of another Board headed by Salah Al-Jahmi;
3. Tackling the issue of new temporary workers, like their colleagues on the old approved list were tackled enabling them to earn thousands of pounds due to the rampant and corruption within the company;
4. The reinstatement of all laid off workers, permanent and temporary workers, who were fired for demanding their legitimate rights from the company for equality on the list approved;
5. The collectors are to get a percentage of the collection fees and advertising attached to the bill, the same as the collectors of public transport and real estate taxes and all those who work in the collection of various sectors of the State;
6. The establishment of a union to defend the company worker's rights.
We, the workers of the Petrotrade company announce that we will not give up our rights and the rights of our colleagues because we are the owners of the right and we will not submit to rosy promises that are used by the company's management and the ministry on promotion.
We also will not end our strike until we reach full agreement on our demands, and in coordination with our colleagues in other areas will not submit to tactics practiced by the Ministry of Petroleum.
We condemn the compromises Sameh Fahmi is conducting in order not to meet our demands, and that he spent millions of pounds on the football teams without regard to the difficult working conditions.
We call workers to print out our demands and distribute them to our colleagues to spread the call for the general strike on the internet and by sending SMS/text messages to colleagues and print the statement issued by the Coordinating Committee of Workers and distribute it in the regions and on different media.
Long live the struggle of the free workers of Petrotrade!
No to corruption and nepotism and cronyism within Petrotrade!
Déclaration du 12 février
In Defence Of Marxism.