• 18:09
  • Wednesday ,05 October 2011

ElBaradei calls for end to military trials, emergency law in labor meeting

By-Omnia Al Desoukie-Daily News Egypt

Home News


Wednesday ,05 October 2011

ElBaradei calls for end to military trials, emergency law in labor meeting

CAIRO: Presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei called on Field Marshal Hussein Tantawy to cancel the emergency law, implement the treachery act and put an end to military trials for civilians at a meeting with workers in Helwan on Monday.

ElBaradei, however, said that if trust in the Egyptian army is lost then Egypt will lose.
“But we cannot say we trust you,” referring to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), “because trust comes from credibility which was lost long ago,” he said.
ElBaradei met with workers from Mahalla, Helwan, Sadat and 10th of Ramadan cities.
“Egypt is still an amateur country when it comes to industry,” ElBaradei said, “but with the current economic deterioration that resulted from to the lack of security and as we run out of reserves with little foreign investment, the country will go bankrupt in six months.”
During his meeting, ElBaradei who acknowledged the workers’ problems, said that Egypt will not develop without industry.
“Over the past decades, we have wasted a lot of money from the industrial sector. Egypt will not stand without industry whose size must double from 15 percent to 30 percent of the Gross National Product (GNP),” he said.
“Egypt’s potential has no limits in agriculture, tourism, industry and services,” ElBaradei said.
He added that people revolted because they were looking for freedom, human dignity and social justice.
“It’s history, I even read that the first workers who ever went on strike in the world were the builders of the pyramids, who complained of low wages and until today they still complain of low wages although their rights are guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948,” said ElBaradei.
Since the January 25 uprising, labor conditions have deteriorated, with workers complaining from the lack of security, low wages and mistreatment by their employers.
Some even went further, explaining that their lives were threatened if they did not resign, because they set up independent unions at their factories.
Kamal Abbas, a labor activist, told ElBaradei that the government continues to ignore their demands and that SCAF turned down a meeting with them.
ElBaradei asked if any representatives from the Ministry of Manpower are looking into the workers’ problems but workers explained that under former president Hosni Mubarak’s regime, the ministry ignored all their demands.
“But now they favor any investor over us because they are afraid that businessmen will close down their businesses and leave us unemployed,” one of the meeting’s attendees said, adding that “social justice is out of reach.”
Most attendees agreed that no political party or presidential candidate is discussing labor rights, with the attention only given to their own political agendas.
Labor representatives told ElBaradei that labor strikes are not to blame for the current deterioration in the economy, but that continued misplaced spending will lead to bankruptcy.
However, ElBaradei stressed that workers must continue to work otherwise the whole country will collapse.
“If we don’t produce we will all lose,” he said.
ElBaradei said that Egypt must have an incentives program during the transition phase, predicting that it might extend to 18 months.
He suggested setting a proper plan that starts with political reform which comes after ending the state of emergency and military trials as well as issuing a political exclusion law and drafting a constitution that represents the broad values of all Egyptians.
“We have start on the right track,” he concluded.
Workers asked ElBaradei to set up a proper electoral program that narrows the gap between Egypt’s rich and poor.
ElBaradei and the workers agreed that Egypt needs a campaign that sets higher wages, gives workers the right to form independent unions, creates a dialogue with entrepreneurs and guarantees the rights of all sectors of society.