Cairo on 8 April 2018
The Freedom of Expression for Workers and Social Movements Program, in collaboration with the Workers and Farmers Secretariat of the Egyptian Democratic Party, held a seminar on “Suppressed Anger… the Social and Labor Protests in 2017” by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information.
The seminar began by Mouhab Abboud, secretary of Workers and Farmers Secretariat, and a member of the Supreme Committee of the Egyptian Democratic Social Party. He presented an introduction to the report and a definition of the speakers. He stressed all those who were concerned about the labor movement lacked the scientific methodology to handle these issues. And that the report was one of the scientific approaches that gave us a better understanding of the location and timing of labor protests.
Dr. Magdy Abdelhamid, member of the Supreme Committee and member of the Political Bureau of the Egyptian Democratic Party, spoke at the beginning of the seminar. He praised the efforts of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information and stated that the article published in the report provided useful material for researchers in labor affairs or the social conditions of Egyptian citizens in general.
Abdul Hamid had some observations on the report and said he stopped at the first moment of reading the report.
“What is the definition of a labor protest? What does the report mean by “labor protest”? Therefore, I would have preferred the report to have introduced its meaning even if it had already been done so in previous years and suggested recommendations at the end of the report to labor leaders.
Abdulhamid made a remark about mentioning both the individual protests and mass protests together, and the equality of the report between the threat of an individual to commit suicide, and the labor protest of a number of workers in a company or factory, or the public protest of a large number of workers in an institution at the level of the Republic. He also called attention to the collective labor protest as part of the demanding movement National.
Mohamed Abdel Salam, Director of the Program for the Freedom of Expression of Workers and Social Movements, spoke to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. He stressed that the aim of the report is to fill the gap in monitoring social protests and to provide material to the labor leaders about the social protest movement under the repression by the government of the protest movement and the absence of Human Rights organizations that are interested in monitoring violations of economic and social rights.
Abdul Salam gave a definition of the methods and tools used by the researchers in collecting and analyzing the literature on labor and social protests. He stressed that despite some of the protests contained more than one form of protest, but researchers recorded these forms as a single protest, and gave a number of examples of labor protests and professional protests and social differences between them. He also stressed that the recommendations made by the participants in the symposium will be taken into account in the coming reports, despite the severe media blackout on the protest movement in Egypt.
Dr. Jihan Abu Zeid, a member and secretary of the Women Committee, in the Higher Committee of the Social Democratic Party, questioned the role of women in labor and social protests.
Also, Jamal Osman, labor movement leader and the head of the union of workers in Tanta company for linen commented on the report, and criticized the absence of details of the protests, and simplification in the presentation of protests, and clarifying the purpose of the protest and its outcome. Osman explained that there were other reports mentioning the number of protests exceeding the number stated in ANHRI’s report, and he personally knew some of the protests that had not been mentioned in the report.
He then praised the network’s efforts in issuing the report and called on the network to communicate with the labor movement leaders to make a precise inventory of the labor protests, which the media ignore.
He also demanded that the report continue and turn into a non-periodic publication that monitors the situation of the labor movement.
Saad Shaaban, head of the Federation of Egyptian Democratic Workers and a member of the International Federation, praised the report and said:
“We would have liked the report before March to be one of the documents submitted by the union to the International Labor Organization.”