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Egypt is one of world's worst 10 countries for workers, ITUC says

Egypt is one of world’s worst 10 countries for workers, ITUC says
Workers dye yarns in a vat at a traditional hand-dying workshop in the Egyptian capital Cairo's centuries old district of Darb al-Ahmar on January 21, 2020 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

Egypt has been listed by the International Trade Union Confederation as one of the world's worst ten countries for workers in the world.

In its annual report, the ITUC said that the government had abused workers' rights to strike and organise a union and attacked their free speech.

The international labour union federation said that governments and employers have used the worldwide coronavirus pandemic to exploit their workers by increasing surveillance, sacking employees, intimidating unions, and even resorting to violence and murder.

Also on the list was Turkey with Belarus and Myanmar entering for the first time this year.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: "The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated jobs, communities, and lives. The Global Rights Index exposes a shameful roll call of governments and companies that have pursued an anti-union agenda in the face of workers who have stood on the front line providing essential work to keep economies and communities functioning."

In March last year Egypt's second richest man, Naguib Sawiris, said Egyptians should sleep on the floors of factories to reduce their movement to get them back to work following the outbreak of coronavirus.

READ: Egypt executes student 'tortured to confess' attempted assassination of security official

In a statement, Egypt's revolutionary socialist movement said his comments were "a manifestation of the true face of capitalism, which is the exploitation and the frantic pursuit of profit, even at the expense of the lives of millions of workers."

Sawiris also threatened to commit suicide if covid measures continued for more than the initially stated two weeks.

Rights watchdog Amnesty International has in the past described the Egyptian government's attack on workers and trade unionists as "relentless" with arrest, detention, dismissal, and trials in military courts the norm.

These assaults are in response to protests and strikes with many workers being held in pretrial detention just for peacefully protesting. Many have their pay cut or are dismissed from work as a punitive measure.

In May authorities detained ten workers from the Iron and Steel Company and dispersed 500 who were protesting following news that the company would be liquidated.

Workers were demanding sufficient compensation and the dismissal of the Minister of Public Business Sector, Hisham Tawfiq.

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