07 July, 2011

Solidarity with Egypt's workers and trade unions

This letter of solidarity is being circulated among Swedish trade unionists,
parliamentarians and activists. If you want to sign it, send an e-mail to

Solidarity with Egypt’s workers and free unions

On June 8, the Egyptian transitional government announced its
intention to enforce a ban on strikes and protests that “obstruct the
work of public institutions” or harm “national unity, societal peace
or public order”, penalizing those who participate in such actions
with a fine of 30.000 – 100.000 Egyptian pounds or a prison sentence
of no less than one year. On that same day riot police forcibly tried
to break up a peaceful sit-in outside the People’s Assembly in Cairo
and arrested at least 5 of the participating tenant farmers, according
to press reports and eyewitness accounts. A few days earlier, military
police arrested 5 petroleum workers following a sit-in outside the
Ministry of petroleum.

We are deeply concerned about these and numerous other reports of
repression against peaceful protests since the resignation of Hosni
Mubarak on February 11, and strongly urge the Egyptian authorities to
refrain from all forms of violence against demonstrators or striking
workers. We call upon the government to reconsider the decision to
impose the ban on strikes – a clear violation of international
conventions signed by Egypt. As the right to strike is a fundamental
human right under international law, imposing such a ban would amount
to nothing less than a betrayal of the revolution of the Egyptian
people, and its legitimate demands for a just and democratic society.

We also call upon the government of Egypt to uphold its promise to
guarantee the right of all Egyptian workers to form independent and
democratic unions, and extend our full support to the Egyptian
Federation of Independent Trade Unions and all the workers of Egypt in
their struggle to realize this demand. The emergence of free and
independent trade unions is an event of enormous significance for
Egypt and the entire region and is to be welcomed by trade unionists
and all democratic forces around the world.


Björn A. Borg, Swedish Dockworkers Union
Hans Linde, Left Party of Sweden, Member of Swedish Parliament
Josefin Brink, Left Party of Sweden, Member of Swedish Parliament
Amineh Kakabaveh, Left Party of Sweden, Member of Swedish Parliament
Lotta Johnsson Fornarve, Left Party of Sweden, Member of the Party
Central Committee
Mussie Ephrem, Left Party of Sweden, Member of the Party Central Committee
Ann-Margarethe Livh, Chairman, Left International Forum
Jytte Guteland, President of Swedish Social Democratic Youth