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