Four Egyptian political parties announced their solidarity with the workers of the Universal Home Appliances Company, as protests continue over their poor financial conditions.
One of the workers committed suicide after being unable to meet the needs of his family due to the irregular payment of salaries. Four others were arrested before being later released. The Central Security Forces dispersed the sit-in, which thousands of workers participated in, injuring several of them.
The parties issued a joint statement in which they said that the company, for months, did not pay the workers’ dues despite the agreement sponsored by the Ministry of Manpower in October 2021, and another agreement sponsored by the General Syndicate for Engineering Industries on 2 January. The parties affirmed that most Egyptians live in harsh social conditions, and that successive waves of inflation have deprived a large segment of citizens of their ability to meet their basic needs. They also said that the suffering increases at a time when workers and peasants lack any tools to negotiate to improve their conditions. The parties called for a comprehensive review of the economic policies that put pressure on most citizens and a review of the union conditions of workers and peasants.
The House of Trade Union and Labour Services has documented 8,041 violations of workers’ rights in Egypt over the past year. There have been 254 cases of unfair dismissal, including 253 cases in the private sector and one case in the public business sector. In addition, 214 cases of coercion to submit resignations were documented in industrial establishments. The parties also referred to the tragedy of some workers committing suicide because of their economic conditions.
The World Health Organisation reported that the figures of suicide in Egypt are terrifying as the country topped the list of Arab countries with the highest suicide rates with 3,799 people in 2016. In 2019, 3,022 people committed suicide in the country. A report issued by the Arab Foundation for Human Rights said that there were 201 suicides in Egypt during the first six months of 2021.