Amnesty International has confirmed that the coup authorities are complicit in an ongoing crackdown on dozens of factory workers who went on a peaceful strike this summer to demand fair wages.
In a report, the organization said that “between July 26 and August 1, about 2,000 employees of Lord International, an Egyptian razor blade manufacturer with several factories in Alexandria, went on strike to demand higher wages and job security, and in response, The Labor Council administration launched a campaign of punitive measures that saw 64 workers unfairly dismissed, 83 workers suspended, wage cuts, forced interrogation and threats.
The Ministry of Manpower of the coup government did not take any action to redress the workers who faced reprisals for their participation in the strike, and instead dismissed their official complaints and pressured them to end their illegal strike.
“The coup authorities have failed to protect striking workers from unfair dismissals and other punitive measures simply for daring to express legitimate demands, and are thus protecting company interests at the expense of workers’ rights to organize and strike,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s director of research and advocacy. in accordance with the Egyptian constitution and international human rights law.
Amnesty International spoke to five current and former workers and a labor lawyer who detailed unfair dismissals, forced resignations, and post-strike pay cuts, and reviewed reports from a local labor rights organization, as well as nine statements by Companies announced mass dismissals, suspensions and internal investigations, and on 26 October 2021 Amnesty International shared its findings with Lord International, but received no response.
Under the Egyptian labor law, only authorized unions are allowed to organize strikes, and Lord workers could not fulfill this requirement, because the independent trade union, which was established after the 2011 uprising, was dissolved after the adoption of the Trade Unions Law of 2017, which is very harsh. Despite reforms to the law in 2019, the Sisi government still refuses to officially recognize new independent trade unions, thus banning all strikes that are not approved by the state-controlled union.
In June, the coup authorities introduced a new national minimum wage, requiring private sector employers to pay a minimum of 2,400 Egyptian pounds ($153) per month by January 2022. Lord International workers, some of whom receive a monthly stipend of 2,000 pounds, were Sterling ($127) have been trying to collectively negotiate their salaries in line with that condition since then, but the company has refused to participate.
Workers told Amnesty International that they decided to strike after the company deducted the Eid al-Adha bonus on July 26, and the strike lasted a week.
Threats, harassment and unfair dismissal
The organization indicated that it reviewed the statements of officials in the Lord Company, which showed that 45 workers were unjustly dismissed from work on August 1 and 2 on charges of inciting an illegal strike and causing serious damage to the company, while 39 others were suspended, and referred to investigations. Interior between 1 and 5 August.
According to a local labor rights organization, between August 1 and September 12, Lord Unfairly fired 64 workers and referred 83 others to an internal investigation for their participation in the mass strike.
The organization also found that, from August 22 to September 16, the company forced 10 long-standing, loud employees to resign after an internal investigation, and refused to renew contracts for at least five others who were allegedly involved in the strike. Referred to internal investigations, they were subjected to other punitive measures for joining the strike, including wage cuts equivalent to three to five working days’ wages, and between August 30 and September 2, the company forced them to sign company warnings that they would be fired If they take similar action in the future.
Workers described to Amnesty International how management aggressively questioned them about the identity of the alleged instigators of the strike, ordered them to reveal the names of journalists who covered the strike, and threatened them if they did not cooperate, and some told the organization that company managers had threatened to fire them without compensation, and to file lawsuits against them for the harm done. They caused it, and prevented them from finding another job.
Amnesty International noted that at least two workers had been told, if they did not sign their resignation papers immediately, that they would be referred to the National Security Agency, a special police force notorious for human rights abuses that police work in what the authorities consider threats to security. nationalist, including independent labor movements.
According to three workers who signed letters of resignation, the surplus payments fall short of the Egyptian labor law, which stipulates that workers receive a total salary of at least two months for each year of work.
The failure of the coup government to protect workers
The report pointed out that on July 26, 2021, at least 100 workers submitted a complaint to the Ministry of Manpower demanding the implementation of the new minimum monthly wage in the private sector, and on the following day two government inspectors for labor affairs visited the factories and mediated a meeting between workers representatives and company managers. .
According to four workers who were present, labor inspectors eventually lined up with corporate management and found management’s actions to pressure workers to end their strike immediately was legitimate.
The company’s management suspended six workers who were attending the meetings and referred them to an internal investigation, and forced five of them to resign later.
Complainants reported to the Ministry of Manpower that officials did not respond to it and did not support it effectively. One worker who filed a complaint with the Ministry of Manpower in September regarding his unfair dismissal without compensation said that ministry officials told him they could not interfere and advised to find an amicable solution with his company. The organization also received similar reports of the government’s failure to address labor rights abuses by other private sector companies.
The organization stressed that “instead of punishing such violations, the authorities must protect workers and ensure that all dismissed are given full compensation, and they must also ensure that the new minimum wage is implemented in all private sector companies.”
Since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi seized power, the coup authorities have subjected dozens of workers and trade unionists to unfair trials, some of them in military courts, with arbitrary arrests, dismissal from work, and other disciplinary measures simply for exercising their right to strike and to form independent trade unions.
In September, authorities arbitrarily detained three Universal workers for two days pending investigations into terrorism-related charges solely for exercising their right to strike and peaceful protest.
Source: بوابة الحرية والعدالة by fj-p.com.
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