Monday, July 23, 2007

Workers Together

Whilst it is only natural to concentrate upon one's own problems and struggles , it is amiss of us to forget that the class war is a world - wide phenomenon . While the British postal workers have been out on strike and intent upon taking further industrial action , my colleagues at the mail centres in Egypt have also been engaged in strikes and sit-ins for better job security , according to the BBC .

In fact , it is being reported that there is a resurgence in workers resistance to management , the government and also to collaborating trade union leaders .

With inflation at 12.3% , and the gap between rich and poor growing , and in some cases privatisations that have brought job cuts and the loss of fringe benefits workers throughout Egypt are fighting back . Some have been been spurred on by earlier victories .

20,000 workers downed tools and occupied their factory last December, inspiring a series of copycat strikes as their demands for an unpaid bonus promised to all labourers nationally were eventually met. Within four months of the Mahalla strike, workers at three other large textile factories and two cement factories had held stoppages and railway employees had briefly blockaded the Cairo-Alexandria train line backed by a go-slow by Cairo metro drivers. the sit-in by the postal workers, who are calling for fixed term contracts, is one among hundreds of other smaller-scale actions by workers ranging from rubbish collectors to bakers and poultry workers to Suez Canal employees which have also been reported in the Egyptian media.

Angered by its refusal to back their strike action, the Mahalla textile workers submitted their resignations to the General Federation of Trade Unions - a body which is dominated by the ruling National Democratic Party and began calling for an independent union. The pro-government GFTU play the same role as our TUC and our own union leaders , watering down demands and dampening the flames of discontent in return for supposed political influence with those who hold the reins of power . But for a trade union the real power is within its rank and file .It is their own membership and their militancy that gives power to the union .

As a postman in Scotland I offer my full solidarity and complete support to the postal workers in Egypt .

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