CAIRO: The Freedoms Committee of the Journalists Syndicate, in coordination with the Revolutionary Socialists Organization, convened a labor congress at the Journalists Syndicate headquarters Sunday that called for consolidating the efforts of all workers to achieve their demands.
Prominent labor figures representing several government bodies, independent syndicates and companies called on forming an integrated and unified labor front to achieve workers’ demands.
The demands include implementing the minimum and maximum wage, achieving social justice, restoring the arbitrarily dismissed laborers and re-operating companies that were seized by the government and whose operations were ordered to re-open by judicial rulings.
The labor movement developed an effective wave of protests against former President Hosni Mubarak‘s regime following the 2005 constitutional referendum, said former presidential candidate Khaled Ali, adding that the protests restored Egypt’s political balance.
Ali called on governmental stakeholders to restructure and reconsider labor issues, including the implementation of the minimum and maximum wage which will save a lot of money in the public budget.
“Social justice is not a gift or a hope, it is a ruling system regulated by specific procedures,” said Ali.
“Re-operate Tanta Textile companies according to the judicial ruling and grant their workers self-management as they are capable of restoring them,” Ali told interim President Adly Mansour.
He also called for the activation of labors’ syndicates to support and protect the rights of workers.
Mahmoud Shafiq, a member of the high committee of the doctors’ strike, said that though five successive regimes passed since doctors started their strike in 2011 the doctors’ demands have not yet been met.
Shafiq called on the government to increase the public budget’s allocation to the Ministry of Health from four to fifteen percent.
Doctors, dentists and pharmacists are to be united for the first time to develop a general strike throughout Egypt, said Shafiq.
“Doctors call for sacking the newly appointed minister of health who is affiliated with Mubarak’s regime,” added Shafiq.
Deputy head of Alexandria’s labor congress Khaled Toson said the strike aims to pressure businessmen to improve productivity and not to disrupt work.
Toson said the congress demands amending the labor law in a way that meets workers’ interests, implementing the minimum wage and providing a comprehensive healthcare system.
Tarek al-Behery, a member of the public transportation workers syndicate, rejected any accusations against the workers.
“Officials blame public transportation workers for the financial losses that resulted in their four days strike, but why do they ignore the financial losses that resulted in the seven month strike of the workers of Egypt National Railways?” said Behery.
He called for the government to not be biased to businessmen and to consider the demands of the workers as a priority.
The representative of the workers at Tanta Textile Company said that though a judicial ruling was issued to return the company to the government, it has not been implemented yet.
He denied rumors that claim pro-Muslim Brotherhood workers at the company fueled the protest, pointing out that the newly appointed minister of manpower is a remnant of Mubarak’s regime.
Originally published in Youm7.