Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Military Court Sentences Civilian Workers

By Cam McGrath

"CAIRO, Aug 31, 2010 (IPS) - An Egyptian military court handed down sentences Monday in the trial of eight civilian factory workers who led a protest against deteriorating safety conditions in an army-owned factory. Rights groups say the trial should never have taken place....

Rights groups fear the government may be using the threat of military trials to intimidate workers and eliminate the growing labour movement.

"Thousands of protests, strikes and sit-ins have been staged by Egyptian workers in both the public and private sectors, protesting the rising cost of living and demanding better wages and working conditions. This latest referral before military courts of workers is therefore a disturbing step," Amnesty International said in a statement.

In June, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) ranked Egypt among the worst 25 states that violate workers' rights. It said labour conditions were deteriorating, and accused the government of violating union freedoms and of deploying security forces to break up industrial actions....."

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