Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s deeply partisan social and economic policies are at the root of the huge wave of popular discontent in Egypt, with more than 20 million people taking to the streets in recent days, calling for his replacement. Seven people are known to have been killed in demonstrations and several hundred injured. The independent trade union movement, at the forefront of the reform movement, has attacked Morsi’s record of suppression of workers’ rights, failure to address deepening poverty and social exclusion, and crony-capitalist favouritism of supporters within his Brotherhood support base.
“Egypt has not only experienced two lost years since the former dictator Mubarak was thrown out – major parts of the population are now experiencing unprecedented levels of poverty and exclusion and the promise of democratic transition and human rights is being betrayed. President Morsi is seen by tens of millions of Egyptians as serving only the interests of his own support base, a situation which is totally unsustainable,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.
Actions by independent unions to support pay rises for workers on poverty wages been routinely met with violence and dismissal of union supporters in recent months, women are being subjected to unprecedented levels of violence, and media are facing suppression. Promises to bring Egypt’s labour laws into line with ILO standards, particularly on freedom of association, have been discarded by the government.
“President Morsi is now calling for dialogue, but the call rings hollow given the autocratic way he has wielded power in the past year. His policy of confrontation and exclusion has caused a deep national crisis, and the popular demand for his replacement is easy to understand,” said Burrow.
In a new special report “A Revolution Betrayed”, Equal Times has revealed disturbing evidence of detention and torture of street children by the Egyptian authorities, in addition to detailing violations of workers’ rights, women’s rights and freedom of speech.
The ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation) represents 175 million workers in 156 countries and territories and has 315 national affiliates.
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