In December, Egypt saw a wildcat strike of 27,000 people at the Ghazl el-Mahalla textile factory. As militancy has spread across and beyond the sector in the region, workers in Ghazl el-Mahalla have formulated the following statement.
This is a rough translation of one of two statements distributed by, the previously unknown, "7th December Movement - Workers for Change" in Ghazl el-Mahalla, 19th and 20th June 2007.
“The 7th of December Movement" is a reference to 7 December 2006, when a 27,000-strong wildcat strike brought the Ghazl el-Mahalla textiles factory to halt causing an upturn in industrial militancy that spread like wildfire throughout Greater Cario and the Delta, beyond the textiles sector and even into the private sector.
To All Egyptian Workers
Announcement from the December 7th Movement – Workers For Change
First: The December 7th Movement (Workers For Change) is purely a workers movement with the association of all honorable Egyptian workers in all variety of workplaces on Egyptian soil. The movement does not belong to political parties or holds any political or religious leanings. We grew out of the Ghazl Al Mahalla uprising on 7 December, 2006.
The goal of the movement is unification of the ranks of all Egyptian workers in all of the diverse workplaces so they can have political, economic and social weight, and have a prominent role in defining the direction of Egyptian politics in all aspects of political, economic and social life.
Therefore the December 7th Movement (Workers for Change) has taken the initiative and is issuing this first statement and has been sent to a few newspapers to be published. A definition and goals of the movement was needed after Egypt was swept by a series of workers strikes in the previous period making it necessary for the movement announce itself.
One of its first goals is to not recognize official worker representatives such as the workers syndicates and the workers union which have proven to everyone they have abandoned workers legal demands.
(These representatives) specifically reached their positions by rigging their elections with not one of them actually being elected but threw themselves into the ruling system and became allied with corruption in harming the interest of workers and even contributing to squandering national wealth by joining in and selling Egypt at the lowest prices and agreeing to unjust laws that increase hardship for workers. This has led to a degradation of (workers) standard of living and a deterioration of society for the Egyptian people in exchange for bribes, kickbacks, plundering, theft, corruption, nepotism and counterfeit elections in their favor in all aspects of life, in the parliament or in the syndicate.
So the question which now presents itself is how long will this state of affairs continue with us in a continuous deterioration of wages, out of control prices and the monopolization of every single thing until the country is monopolized and destroyed or goes to a point where we find ourselves unable to find the country we live in and become Egyptian refugees? – Should we wait until that happens? – of course not. We will not wait, for the time has come for us to rise up as one hand and shout in one loud voice to put an end to this corruption, tyranny, injustice, subjugation and humiliation and wipe out all of this and take back the rights, first among them freedom and democracy, from the thieves, robbers and hypocrites in this country we suffer from. Let’s go workers of Egypt and fear nothing. Now is the time to carry out what is agreed upon with the decision makers who are the president of the Egyptian Federation, the Minister of Labour, and doctor the Minister of Investment with the demands the Ghazal Al Mahalla workers which are:
1- Increase the percentage of incentives by 100 percent from the basic salary adding to the monthly incentives.
2- Raise wages and production quotas.
3- Establish a transportation service for workers.
4- Pay the remainder of profits according to the text of Decree 467 of 2006.
5- Establish a project to build vertical housing instead of horizontal housing and this is the smallest of requests of Al Mahalla workers to achieve social peace and (end) class differences that are now a common characteristic of Egypt.
Our time is 21 July, 2007, to build a new free nation if these demands – which all Egyptian workers, not just Al Mahalla workers – have never benefited and history bears witness to this.
December 7th Movement (Workers for Change)
Via Arabawy, translation by Nour Abdel Salam.
Kafr el-Dawwar workers are in the same trench as Ghazl el-Mahalla, statement by Kafr el-Dawwar Workers for Change