‘Al-Sisi’s “permission” is a deadly poison’ INDEPENDENT TRADE UNION LEADER FATMA RAMADAN WARNS EGYPTIAN WORKERS

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FATMA RAMADAN member of the Executive Committee of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions, issued the following statement last Friday on the eve of the Egyptian Army’s bloody crackdown on Mursi supporters.

FATMA RAMADAN member of the Executive Committee of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions, issued the following statement last Friday on the eve of the Egyptian Army’s bloody crackdown on Mursi supporters.

Headed, ‘Al-Sisi’s “Permission” is a Deadly Poison’ her statement reads:

My comrades,

‘The workers of Egypt are struggling for their rights and for a better Egypt.

‘Egypt’s workers dream of freedom and social justice, they dream of work at a time when thieves who are called businessmen close down factories to pocket billions.

‘Egypt’s workers dream of fair wages under the rule of governments that are only interested in promoting investment at the expense of workers and their rights, and even their lives.

‘Egypt’s workers dream of a better life for their children. They dream of medicine when they are sick, but they do not find it. They dream of four walls in which they can take shelter.

‘Since before the 25th of January you have been demanding your rights, and your strikes and demonstrations for the same unanswered demands continued after Mubarak’s overthrow.

‘Both the Muslim Brotherhood and the military have negotiated left, right and centre, not once having in mind your demands and rights.

‘All they have in mind is how to put out the sparks you have lit with your struggle in times of darkness, even these sparks all burned in isolation from each other.

‘Did not the military forcibly end your strikes in Suez, Cairo, Fayyoum, and all over Egypt?

‘Did not the military arrest many of you and subject you to military trials just for practising your right to organise, strike, and protest peacefully?

‘Have they not adamantly worked to criminalise this right through legislation banning all Egyptians from organising peaceful protests, strikes, and sit-ins?

‘Then came Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood, who followed in Mubarak’s footsteps with dismissals, arrests, and smashing strikes by force.

‘It was Mursi who sent police dogs against workers at Titan Cement in Alexandria, acting through the Minister of the Interior and his men.

‘The same police and army officers who are right now being carried shoulder-high are killers, the killers of honest, young Egyptians.

They are the authorities’ weapon against us all – and always will remain so unless these institutions are cleansed.

‘The leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood are planning crimes against Egyptian people on a daily basis, which have caused the killing of innocent people, while the army and the police are facing these with brutal violence and murder.

‘But let each of us remember, when do the army and police intervene? They intervene long after clashes have begun and are almost coming to an end, after blood has been spilled.

‘Ask yourselves, why don’t they prevent these crimes committed by the Muslim Brotherhood against the Egyptian people before they start?

‘Ask yourselves, in whose interest is this continuation of fighting and blood-letting?

‘It is in the interest of both the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood and the military together.

‘Just as the poor are cannon-fodder for wars between states, Egypt’s poor, workers and peasants are fuel for internal war and conflict.

‘Has not the doorman’s innocent son been killed in Mokattam, and in Giza as well?

‘Today, we have been asked to go out and authorise Al-Sisi’s killing spree, and we find all three trade union federations in agreement: the government’s Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF), the Egyptian Democratic Labour Congress (EDLC), and the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU) (of which I am a member of the Executive Committee).

‘I debated with members of the EFITU executive committee in order to convince them not to issue a statement calling on its members and the Egyptian people to go down on Friday, confirming that the army, the police, and the people are one hand as stated in the statement.

‘I was in the minority, winning four other votes versus nine votes, and thus all three trade union federations called for workers to join the protests on the pretext of fighting terrorism.

‘We are thus faced with jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.

‘The Muslim Brotherhood committed crimes and it must be held accountable and prosecuted for them, just like police and army officers and men of the Mubarak regime must be held accountable and prosecuted for their crimes.

‘Do not be fooled into replacing a religious dictatorship with a military dictatorship.

‘Workers of Egypt, be aware, for your demands are crystal clear.

‘You want work for you and your children, you want fair pay, laws that protect your rights against the laws that the businessmen of Mubarak have designed to protect their interests against your rights.

‘You want a state which has a real plan for development, opening new factories in order to absorb a growing labour force.

‘You want freedom, freedom of all kinds, freedom to organise, freedom to strike.

‘You want a country where you can live as free citizens without torture or murder.

‘You have to specify what stands between you and these demands.

‘Do not be fooled and let them take you to battles not your own.

‘Do not listen to those who ask of you today and tomorrow to stop pressing for these demands and rights on the pretext of fighting terrorism.

Fatma Ramadan,

Member of the

Executive Bureau of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions

Friday, July 26, 2013.

A report: The Condition of Egyptian Workers: One Year After the Brotherhood’s Rule, from the Centre for Trade Union and Workers Services (CTUWS) was published on its website on Sunday.

A summary said: ‘One year has passed since Mohamed Mursi acceded to the presidency of the Republic and Egyptian workers are still awaiting the fulfilment of his promises to realise social justice.

‘All what the workers get from the president and his group is their concern with a file to empower the Brotherhood and strengthen its involvement in the state institutions without the slightest attention to the workers and their living conditions

‘One year has passed and we have not heard about a plan to confront unemployment.

‘We did not get a response from the president to the demands of the pensioners or to the complaints of the workers who were forced to accept early retirement.

‘We did not hear from him when the privatised companies will be returned to state ownership, according to court sentences.

‘We did not hear from the president and his group that budget allocations for health and education will be increased.

‘Moreover, when the workers protested and exercised their right to strike calling for their fair rights, the media of the president and his group attacked the workers’

strikes and accused their noble trade union leaders through the state-owned press and TV channels.

‘Worst of all, they used the mosques to provoke trade union leaders, and confronted the strikes with unprecedented violence.

‘Dr Mursi and his government were not biased to trade union freedoms. On the contrary, they brought a minister whose main concern was to implement the Brotherhood’s plot to destroy the independent unions and dominate the official Trade Union Federation by removing Mubarak’s people and appointing Mursi’s people instead of them.

‘One year has passed and the exercise of trade union freedoms, whose principles were announced, was met on the ground by severe difficulties and serious violations by the devilish alliance between the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF) and the government administrations whose officials remained unchanged with a number of businessmen and private companies.

‘By the end of the year, Egypt was put on the ILO’s blacklist of the worst nations which do not observe the workers rights.

‘During the first year of the president from the Brotherhood, the Egyptian working class was subject to a number of quantitative and qualitative violations unprecedented in the history of Egyptian workers.

‘Quantitatively, the workers’ protests calling for their minimum legal rights (the right to work, the right to fair wages, etc.) were met by security confrontations on almost a daily level.

‘Judicial prosecutions of labour leaders on the basis of the “law to protect the revolution” issued by president Mursi on 22nd November 2012.

‘This law equ

tes the striking workers with the killers of the revolutionaries and criminalises the right to strike.

‘Qualitatively, the government did not deal with the workers’ protest movements in a manner that suits a post-revolution government.

‘It confronted such protests with defamation of the strikes and the trade union leaders through the state-owned press, and condemnation of strikes and sit-ins as acts in contradiction with religion.

‘In addition, the regime sanctioned hiring thugs by businessmen to attack the striking workers with live bullets.’