Help keep the Egyptian revolution alive
Air-traffic controllers, bus drivers, journalists, academics, and nurses, among thousands of others have been back on the streets of Egypt this week demanding that the interim military government deliver on the demands of their revolution. Help add your voice to theirs by signing the global petition calling on the Egyptian government to enact a labour law to finally give Egyptians their rights at work.
This is a key demand of the movement that was best put to me by Nawla Darwiche, from the New Woman Foundation in Cairo who was in London earlier in September as a guest of Amnesty International. Research carried out by her organisation found that most women garment workers have been getting poverty wages of $30 to $60 a month, and many have been the victim of sexual harassment.
These women were at the forefront of the January revolution and have successfully demanded a rise in the minimum wage to about $120 a month. But to deliver real dignity at work they are absolutely clear: employers and governments need to respect their rights at work, and to ensure that, they need to especially respect their right to form and join their own trade unions.
Yet these demands risk getting swept aside during Egypt’s fragile transition. The interim government, overseen by a military council has banned strikes, and is threatening to roll back hard won freedoms for women. And the upcoming elections might simply return another variety of Mubarak-era stooges hostile to workers’ rights.
So we need to apply maximum pressure right now. Today is the World Day for Decent Work. Please mark it by taking a moment to sign the global petition for an Egyptian labour law and spread the word. The petition has got a good response so far, but Egyptian workers need and deserve a brilliant response.