A delegation from the Tadamon coalition submitted a memorandum to the parliament on Tuesday to demand the immediate release of 26 workers from the Alexandria Shipyard Company and the Public Transportation Authority (PTA).
Wael Tawfik, the media coordinator of the coalition, told Daily News Egypt that the memorandum is part of previous decisions to take escalating steps in their campaign to defend workers rights. This has no relation to the committee formed by the presidency to follow the legal fate of young detainees, he added.
Both groups of workers were arrested for arranging strikes and petitioning for their rights at work.
The memorandum stipulates demands for the recognition of rights for workers and their unions. These demands include immediate intervention by the parliament to drop all charges levelled against workers who have been detained, stating that the workers protested in accordance to their constitutional rights.
It also called on abolishing certain articles that restrict the citizen’s rights to call for strikes, and to defend the presence of unions that serve workers by being their legal representatives and collective voice in the country.
The coalition further announced full solidarity with the workers’ demands, declaring that they complete agree with them; these demands do not violate the law but grant the workers the ability to live decent lives.
The Alexandria Shipyard workers, who spent over five months in detention, are accused of inciting workers to strike and refusing to work in the military institution, for which they were referred to a military court. The PTA workers, who were arrested in late September, are also facing charges of inciting workers to strike.
The Tadamon coalition, a group of 36 anti-Civil Service Law syndicates and independent unions, has been constant in its campaign for workers right and has attempted to address their issues by finding possible solutions with certain supportive MPs; however, efforts usually fail to obtain concrete results as the state either never responds or refuses to open the door for negotiations.
They also expressed their rejection of the approved Civil Service Law which they believe imposes unfair requirements on the workers duties and their wages. The coalition has previously attempted to submit a self-drafted civil service bill but its admission was continually rejected by the parliament.
Workers in several sectors in the country are struggling with low and late payments, as well as managerial intransigence. Several politics parties and labour movements condemned the arrest of the Alexandrian Shipyard and PTA workers because their demands resonate with the overall consensus for the protection of workers legal rights.
The state has been countering any sort of dissent or strikes, arguing that any kind of disruption to public order affects the developments in the country. Currently, under Egyptian law, protesters can face jail time if they demonstrate in the street, while workers are subjected to both jail time and forced into early retirement if they strike.