Während der erste Mai in Wien primär vom parteiinternen Richtungsstreit der Sozialdemokratie geprägt war, ist gerade an diesem Tag unter den autoritären Regimen der MENA-Region die Repression gegen politische Opposition aus den Reihen von Gewerkschaften und linken Organisationen und Parteien umso bedrückender.
Nach dem kurzen Aufbrauch, den die ArbeiterInnenbewegung Ägyptens im Zuge der Revolution von 2011 erleben konnte, herrscht unter dem Militärregime al-Sisis wieder die Unterdrückung jeglicher eigenständiger Organisationsversuche unabhängiger Gewerkschaften vor. Zum ersten Mai veröffentlichte nun das von engagierten BasisgewerkschafterInnen organisierte „Labour Freedoms Coordination Committee“, ein Netzwerk deren Akteure ich schon 2011 bei meinen Interviews mit ägyptischen GewerkschafterInnen persönlich kennen lernen durfte, folgende Erklärungwn. Online habe ich sie noch nicht gefunden. Sie wurden mir gerade per e-mail zugeschickt. Deshalb will ich sie auf diese Weise auf meinem Blog verbreiten. Die erste Erklärung schildert die Repression des Regimes auch schon im Vorfeld des 1. Mai. Der zweite Bericht weiter unten, über die trotzdem stattgefundene Konferenz der unabhängigen Gewerkschaftsbewegung zeigt, dass sich die ägyptische ArbeiterInnenbewegung trotz dieser Repression nicht so schnell mundtot machen lassen wird.
The Land of Forbidden
The state expands every day in closing all margins of expression that had been available to citizens. Day after day the nature of the ruling regime is exposed. The regime does not tolerate any voice or opinion that opposes it. The space is only wide open in front of supporters and hypocrites.
Today, Egyptian security forces besieged all streets leading to the press syndicate using hundreds of soldiers led by a number of generals. These forces held all entry points leading to the syndicates in a tight grip and prevented anyone from approaching these entry points. All this was to prevent the conference by the Coordination Committee of Labour Freedoms that was to be held in the fourth floor of the syndicate on the occasion of May Day that all workers world wide celebrate. Around the world workers raise their demands on this day but in Egypt workers are banned from celebrating it. Authorities did not only confisicate the right of workers to celebrate their day but confiscated the day itself. The Egyptian state held a conference to celebrate Labour day on April 28 that was only attended by the union committee and the defunct Egyptian Labour Federation.
Canceling the labour conference is a clear message from authorities not only for the labour movement but to all democratic forces that they will not allow any voice of opposition.
The authorities revealed their true face that is hostile to freedoms and that its true policies are shutting mouths and closing the public space.
The position on labour freedoms has become clear. The regime that prevents unarmed workers by force from holding their conference in which they announce their demands will for sure have a position against workers right in establishing their own unions and will try to silence any voice demanding this right.
What the regime does not know and does not learn from the lessons of history is that no force can ban the voice of workers or confiscate their movement. The Egyptian labour movement is on going in its route of struggle for tier right in freedom and living with dignity.
The Labour Freedoms Coordination Committee
May 1, 2016
Despite the Ban and Tyranny
Egypt’s Workers Hold their Conference on May 1st
After they were prevented from holding their conference in the Press Syndicate as it was planned. Egypt’s workers held their conference on May 1st at 4:30 pm at the premises of the Center for Trade Union and Worker Services – 88 Qasr El Aini St., Cairo- where 300 workers representing unions and various trade sectors from all of Egypt’s governorates to express their anger and their denouncement of the tyrannical procedures taken against their rights, and to assert their insistence on practicing their right to express their demands and defend their interests.
The Labour Freedoms Coordination Committee that includes representatives of the independent unions and labour leaders – along with the CTUWS- organized its event on May 1st in the 4th floor hall in the press syndicate in downtown Cairo. This hall was rented from the syndicate – as is the custom- fifteen days previously. They were however surprised to find scores of security forces surrounding the downtown area and preventing cars and passersby of crossing through it. Hundreds of workers were prevented from entering the area because of the banning of the conference without reasons and in a step that is considered a stark transgression on the rights of journalists (the owners of the hall) and the Labour Freedoms Coordination Committee (the tenants of the hall).
Representative Khaled Shabaan – the member of Parliament- and Dr. Karim Al Hefnawy, Mr. Hassan Badawy and Dr. Magdy Abdel Hamid, representatives of the political forces and civil society organizations, who rushed to attend in the location of the conference were also banned from reaching the premises of the conference that was to be held in the press syndicate. Participants in the conference from independent unions and labour leaders announced that they insist on workers’ rights to organize themselves freely and on their rights of expression and organization. The attendees denounced the attitudes of the state apparatus that has gone too far in doing away with rights and freedoms. Its clear directive is to confiscate labour rights and freedoms which was clear – particular- in its alleged celebration of May Day on April 28thwith pretentious labour representatives from the Egyptian Labour Federation; the official state body and its tool in confiscating the right of workers to organize their unions freely.
The conference announced the demands of workers foremost among which was cancelling all legal restraints on the rights of workers to form their independent unions and the issuance of a union law according to article 76 of the Egyptian constitution and international labour agreements (98 and 87). It also called onto all democratic forces to express solidarity with worker rights for a democratic society that has room for all its citizens that provides a share for each of them in its fortunes. A society in which its members can breathe freely, talk, interact and express themselves. A society that does not oppress its members and does not restrain their ambitions and their human’s inclination to develop their abilities and improve their living conditions.
The Labour Freedoms Coordination Committee
May 1, 2016