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Égypt-actus
Égypt-actus
revue de presse sur l'actualité culturelle, archéologique, politique et sociale de l'Égypte
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La hausse du salaire minimum en Egypte ne parvient pas à calmer les travailleurs

La hausse du salaire minimum en Egypte ne parvient pas à calmer les travailleurs | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

When Egypt announced plans for a minimum wage late last year, the government hoped to lift living standards and calm street turmoil that has helped topple two presidents in three years.

Although one in four Egyptians lives below a poverty line of $1.65 a day, many workers say the 1,200 Egyptian pound ($170) minimum wage introduced in January is too little too late in a nation whose rulers have long favoured the elite over the poor.

"Some people spend half that on their pet dogs every day," said Ibrahim Hussein, who earns 800 pounds a month as a private security guard, barely enough to support his three children.

Flush with more than $12 billion in aid from Gulf Arab states, the army-backed government is using some of the cash to defuse unsatisfied demands for reform and social justice.

Many Egyptians backed the army's overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi in July and the ensuing crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood in which about 1,000 of his supporters were killed.

And many are mesmerised by Field Marshal Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, the army chief who oustedEgypt's first freely elected leader after mass protests against his rule. Sisi is soon expected to announce he will run for president - and win.

But once the euphoria fades, Sisi in his turn could face what some have dubbed the revolution of the hungry unless eradicating poverty and social ills becomes a higher priority.

"Setting the minimum wage is a first step in the path to social justice... The government must not forget or stop at the minimum wage only," said campaigner Ashraf al-Taalabi.

"If the people do not feel they have social justice there will be a third revolution to achieve that goal."

Corruption, cronyism and stark inequalities in wealth fuelled the 2011 revolt that overthrew autocratic President Hosni Mubarak, when labour unions joined vast crowds demanding "bread, freedom and justice" for the nation of 85 million.

 
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Egypt's Constitution seen to curtail labor rights and workers freedoms

Egypt's Constitution seen to curtail labor rights and workers freedoms | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Labor provisions in Egypt's new Constitution are worrying workers and unionists alike, who fear that a lot of room has been left to restrict labor rights.

Drafted by an Islamist-dominated assembly, the new Constitution maintains the Nasser-era workers’ quotas in company administrations and reserves 50 percent of seats in parliament for representatives of workers and farmers.

Egypt-actus's insight:

It also maintains many of the labor provisions in the 1971 Constitution, which workers deem to be outdated — even detrimental — such as an article allowing forced labor.

Even some of the novel articles may end up negatively effecting Egypt’s workforce, namely stipulations seen as normalizing child labor, others legitimizing the military trials of civilians that may be used against striking workers, as well as new restrictions that may serve to outlaw numerous professional associations, particularly independent unions and syndicates.

The vague terminology of the new charter leaves room for interventionist legislation. For example, while Article 63 mentions “the right to peaceful strike”— not mentioned in Egypt’s older constitutions — the legislation that is being issued to regulate this article suggest that the right to strike will be curtailed.

Municipal laws regulating workers' rights indicate that Egypt's new ruling regime aims to keep both workers' and union movements on a short leash. Theseincluding Presidential Decree 97/2012 amending Trade Union Law 35/1976, Law 105/2012 regulating street vendors, and the Shura Council’s draft law on protests and strikes.

Since the 25 January uprising, more than 1,000 independent unions were established nationwide, some in non-unionized workforces, others in parallel to existing unions affiliated to the state-controlled Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF).

In parallel to the official syndicates, two independent teachers’ unions were established while at least three press syndicates were created. However, the status of these independent entities is being brought into question in light of Egypt’s new Constitution.

Articles 51 to 53 stipulate union freedoms but place limitations on these freedoms. The restrictive Article 53 contradicts the provisions of Article 51, which stipulates “the right to establish associations and civil institutions, subject to notification only. Such institutions shall operate freely, and be deemed legal persons.”

Former Minister of Manpower, Ahmad Hassan al-Borei, declared that these constitutional articles "fail to protect union plurality and democracy." In turn, they stand in "violation of International Labor Organization’s conventions 87 and 98," concerning freedom of association, the right to organize, and collective bargaining, which Egypt ratified since the 1950s but has largely failed to uphold.

 

More : http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/egypt-s-constitution-seen-curtail-labor-rights-and-workers-freedoms

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President Mursi, International Monetary Fund prepare austerity policies in Egypt

On Monday Egypt’s Islamist government greeted International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials in Cairo to discuss terms of a $4.8 billion loan. President Mohamed Mursi, Prime Minister Hisham Kandil and new Egyptian finance minister Al-Mursi El-Sayed Hegazy met with IMF Middle East and Central Asia Department Director Masood Ahmed.

Both sides announced their commitment to conclude the deal in the coming weeks, and a technical team of the IMF will arrive in Cairo in the coming days. Hegazy, a US-trained economist appointed as finance minister by Mursi in a cabinet reshuffle on Sunday, announced that he was “completely ready to complete discussions” with the IMF.

Ahmed declared that “the IMF remains committed to support Egypt in addressing its increasing economic challenges and moving towards a more inclusive model of economic growth.”

A stand-by agreement (SBA) between the IMF and Egypt was already struck in November. However, the Egyptian government proposed to postpone the final conclusion of the deal, amid mass protests against Mursi and the ruling Islamist Muslim Brotherhood (MB) before the constitutional referendum in December.

Confronted with hundreds of thousands of workers and youth demanding the fall of Mursi and the ruling MB, the Egyptian government shied away from concluding the deal and implementing deep austerity measures demanded by the IMF.

The Egyptian bourgeoisie is aware of the social and political consequences of bringing the IMF back to Egypt. Free-market reforms, economic liberalization, and privatization programs worked out between the IMF and the Egyptian ruling elite over more than three decades laid the ground for the revolutionary mass struggles which ousted former dictator Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

 

More : http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/01/09/egyp-j09.html

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NSF Organizes "I Wanna Work" March On Feb 22nd

NSF Organizes "I Wanna Work" March On Feb 22nd | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Egypt's National Salvation Front (NSF), in association with Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF), will organize on February 22nd a million-man march named "I want to work", in order to support them and revive the economy.

Dr Ahmed El Borei, a member of the National Salvation Front (NSF), has called on all the workers not to participate in the parliamentary elections unless reshaping the void constitution and toppling the regime; warning of breaking down the Egyptian economy within the coming weeks.(...)

 

This came during a meeting, held this morning, which discussed the issues concern not responding and achieving the demands of Egyptian workers and the clear abuse against their demands, as they side with business

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Francoise Autier's comment, February 16, 2013 12:57 PM
mais qu il (le NSF) propose enfin des solutions !!!
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Egypte - Enfants exploités dans les carrières de pierre calcaire

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(Agence Fides) – La région d’al-Minya s’étend sur les rives orientales et occidentales du Nil, en Egypte. Il s’agit d’une région dans laquelle le travail fait défaut et la majeure partie de la population vit dans des conditions de pauvreté. Presque tous les habitants, y compris les enfants, travaillent dans les carrières de pierre calcaire. En Egypte, le travail des mineurs est illégal mais lorsque les ressources financières manquent, les familles sont contraintes à envoyer leurs enfants travailler dans les carrières pour pouvoir survivre. Les conditions de travail sont extrêmement risquées, il n’existe pas de mesures de sécurité et les travailleurs n’ont pas de droits. Les enfants travaillent 6 jours par semaine à partir de 05h00 et pour une durée de 10 heures par jour, pour un salaire dépendant de leur production. Avec le soutien de l’association internationale Christian Aids, 15.000 des 25.000 travailleurs reçoivent actuellement une formation sur leurs droits, sur la sécurité et la santé au travail. En outre, afin d’éviter que les enfants travaillent, l’association accorde des micro crédits aux femmes afin qu’elles puissent ouvrir une activité commerciale et augmenter leurs revenus mensuels.

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All Unionized and Nowhere to Go, by Joel Beinin

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Abstracts

 

Almost a thousand new unions independent of ETUF have been established since the January 25, 2011 uprising against the Mubarak regime. Many of them have joined one of the two new union federations—the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions or the Egyptian Democratic Labor Congress. The federations and many of their constituent unions are weak in resources and organizational capacity—in part because Egypt had no experience with democratic trade unionism between the early 1950s and 2011. However, the existence of these federations and the high-profile struggles of many of their affiliated unions—municipal real estate tax assessors; Cairo bus and Metro workers; teachers; iron, steel, and ceramics workers; Ain Sokhna port workers—have put the demands for democratic trade unionism, workers freedom of association, and the right to bargain collectively on the political agenda. The International Labor Organization and the International Trade Union Confederation have supported these goals. Yet Egypt routinely flouts ILO conventions affirming these principles that it ratified long ago. (...)

In the arena of trade unionism and labor relations—as in the broader political and economic arena—Egypt’s future is uncertain. Industrial workers comprise one of the sectors that solidly, but certainly not unanimously, opposed the new constitution. In addition, large numbers of previously unpoliticized “couch potatoes” participated in militant demonstrations against Morsi’s November 22 decree and the proposed constitution.

Workers have not been a strong factor in the post-Mubarak national political arena. Some components of the National Salvation Front (NSF) formed to oppose the constitution claim to represent workers’ interests. But its leading figures have done little to build grassroots support among workers. Many NSF supporters hope the front will contest the upcoming parliamentary elections as a unified bloc. This could create a different balance of forces than in the overwhelmingly Islamist first post-Mubarak parliament. In that case, the contest over Egypt’s future would take place in the parliament as well as in streets and workplaces. If not, streets and workplaces will continue as they have for the past two years.

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