Act now to support Egyptian hospital workers

Solidarity action co-ordinated by Canadian doctors and health workers – Support the doctors’ march to Tahrir Square, 10 June

The Egyptian health-care system only receives 3.5 per cent of GDP. Doctors work under state-controlled unions led by corrupt officials with ties to the Mubarak regime, which have prevented them from advocating for better health care and working conditions. Most Egyptian doctors work in public hospitals or charity clinics, working up to 100 hours a week for less than $3/day — forcing many to look for other work or leave the country. But the Egyptian revolution has united doctors with other hospital workers in a movement for change.

Egyptian doctors joined the revolution in Tahrir Square, and through the process became politicized. In May they organize two national strikes — demanding an end to corruption in the Health Ministry, a fair wage structure for all workers in Egypt, hospital security, and an increase in the budget for the Ministry of Health. Egyptian doctors are also uniting with other hospitals workers — nurses, porters, and technicians — in independent trade unions to push for better health care and working conditions, and this new model is starting to spread. On June 10 they will march to Tahrir Square.

But the military regime is trying to undermine the doctor strikes and the independent trade unions to divide the movement for change, restricting the Egyptian revolution to political reforms and preventing the social and economic demands that are at the heart of it. Now is a key time to support Egyptian doctors and the emergence of independent hospital trade unions, and their united efforts to improve health care for all Egyptians, working conditions for all hospital workers, and wages for all workers.

Act now to support Egyptian hospital workers:

1) Send solidarity messages to canada.egypt.solidarity@gmail.com (from Canada) or menasolidarity@gmail.com (if in UK or elsewhere). Messages will be translated, compiled and sent to hospital workers, and those received by Thursday night will be sent by Friday when they return to Tahrir Square.

2) Ask your trade union or community organization to do the same.

3) For updates from Canadians building solidarity with Egyptian workers visit the Facebook group “Solidarity with Egyptian trade unions”: http://on.fb.me/j7z5Eo.

4) For updates on international solidarity, visit the Solidarity with Middle East and North African Workers Network at http://menasolidaritynetwork.com.

5) To read the transcript of a recent interview with Dr. Mohamed Shafiq, member of the Higher Strike Committee of the Doctors’ Strike, go to http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/jesse/2011/06/act-now-support-egyptian-hospital-workers.

6) See recent updates in the Health section of this website

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