IFFCO strikers in Egypt. Photo: IUF
Act now to defend food worker unions in Egypt
In Egypt, twenty-seven edible oils factory workers and leaders and members of their union face crippling fines and jail terms for the ‘crime’ of striking to defend their wages, with sentences due to be announced on 29 January. You can join a global union campaign run by the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) by sending a message to the employer and the President of Egypt.
Workers at the IFFCO edible oils factory in Suez, Egypt went on strike in a dispute over wages in December. The company filed a police report against 15 workers, including 9 union members. On 29 December, police raided the homes of the union president and general secretary and four other workers. And days later on 3 January, police stormed the factory and arrested 13 striking workers. The workers are now barred from the factory.
The attack on the IFFCO union follows severe repression against the Cairo bus workers and Alexandria shipyard workers and their unions, as well as a two year jail sentence for the leader of the journalists’ union. The state-controlled Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF) is an integral part of the machinery of repression, despite about 5 economic protests every day across the country. The ETUF has denounced the independent union and called on IFFCO management to refuse to recognize it. The company has used ETUF’s intervention to cease deducting workers’ membership fees and continue the anti-union campaign.
The IFFCO workers need your support. It is now more urgent than ever to support workers in Egypt fighting to preserve the space for independent organization they struggled for in the democratic upsurge which toppled Mubarak. IFFCO Egypt is part of the IFFCO group of companies based in the United Arab Emirates, with manufacturing sites in ten countries. IFFCO is owned by India’s giant Allana Group, a major transnational producer of processed food products.