CAIRO: Representatives of 40 labor syndicates signed a “charter of honor” Sunday pledging a one-year suspension of labor strikes if the government responds to their demands.
The representatives met at the Ministry of Manpower to support the initiative launched by Ahmed Khairy, the head of Egypt’s Trade Union Federation, who had proposed that workers end strikes for one year, and work an extra two hours a day, to “boost productivity and the economy.”
Farmers and educational professions syndicates, along with a number of other syndicates, took part in the meeting and supported the initiative, according to Khairy.
Some labor leaders, however, condemned the initiative.
Abdel Moneim el-Gamal, secretary general of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation, criticized the meeting and said Ahmed Khairy does not represent Egyptian Labor.
“The initiative is nothing but a media show … the laborers on strike, including those of the Mahalla and Tanta textile companies were not present at the meeting,” Gamal said, adding that the syndicates that did participate were “minor, inactive, and have not participated in any of the recent labor strikes.”
Khairy’s initiative came as a response to Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab’s meeting with representatives of workers at the Mahalla Spinning and Weaving Company during a Wednesday visit to Gharbia governorate.
During the visit, Mahlab had discussed the demands of striking laborers and promised workers that their demands would be met.
Several post and public transportation authority workers, Mahalla Spinning and Weaving Company workers, and many others, have been striking on and off for the past few months to demand minimum wages and an improvement in their living standards.
Originally published in Youm7.