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Workers say repression getting worse as they fight for a minimum wage

Story Transcript

CHANTING: The strike is a legitimate struggle against an ousted regime. Revolution, revolution until victory! Tora prison is ruling Egypt!

CHANTING: Egyptian workers support the revolution. Bread, freedom, social justice! Egyptians say it loud and clear: we do not want a military state!

UNIDENTIFIED: There is absolutely no social justice. There are no indications to convince the people there will be change. Hazem El Belblawi went to the military council three times, with three organizations, for minimum and maximum wages, and he was rejected. Mubarak loyalists are still making millions, and workers only pennies.

CHANTING: Bread, freedom, social justice! Rise up, Egypt, and revolt. Neither Tantawi nor Ganzouri!

UNIDENTIFIED: What’s taking place is a struggle between the thieves and the people. And the military council and police are on the payroll of the thieves. They are defending the remnants of the old regime.

CHANTING: Speak, don’t fear. The military has to go. And he who kills the people of Egypt cannot rule Egypt. Our dear revolution, rise up, revolt.

FATMA RAMADAN, WORKERS’ INDEPENDENT SYNDICATE: We are at a stage where workers and labor organizations do not have the impact this movement needs. We’re only getting started. New independent syndicates are being created by several different groups, in spite of the state and the military, who criminalized sit-ins and strikes, which Hosni Mubarak did not even do. And at the same time, they refuse to implement the Syndicate Freedoms Law. Meanwhile, business owners gang up on syndicates, especially within the industrial sites. They are killing and firing any worker trying to establish a union, the same workers who’ve been deprived of establishing syndicates. The regime is terrified of workers joining the sit-in in Tahrir, because workers played a key role in the ousting of Hosni Mubarak. Indeed, the workers did not join at first, but daily strikes in hundreds of companies and factories throughout the years have led to Mubarak’s ousting. And there began the first phase of the January 25th Revolution.

CHANTING: The strike is a legitimate struggle against an ousted regime. Striking is our weapon against the military that slaughters us.


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Jasmina and Philip are film-makers currently based in Cairo, Egypt