Work at Egypt’s courts hampered due to nationwide strike

Work at several Egyptian courts was hindered on Tuesday due to a nationwide strike staged by court workers to demand better working conditions and policy changes.

In Monufiya, around 3,000 court workers went on strike, demanding higher salaries, equality with the workers of the notary and the forensic medicine departments, and poor treatment by judges. They decried official refusal to let them form a syndicate, for which they said they have elected a board.

Workers also denounced what they called “smear campaigns launched by Freedom and Justice Party members and court officials, who are responsible for non-judicial staff, to slow down work.”

Judges went on a three month strike that caused work in the courts to basically stop, they added.  

In Sharqiya, striking workers demanded separation between the workers’ budget and that of the Supreme Judicial Council, so their budget would be handled by the Justice Ministry. They also demanded creating an administrative board to be directed by a ministry deputy or assistant that would specialize in workers affairs.

Ahmed Tawfiq, chairman of the independent syndicate for workers at courts and district prosecution offices in Sharqiya, said head of the Supreme Judicial Council Hossam al-Gheriany and Justice Minister Adel Abdel Hamid were notified of the workers demands but they have not given a response.  

In Port Said, workers at the city’s court postponed participation in the strike due to investigations being conducted into the massacre that took place after a football game there on 1 February.

Ali al-Semman, the court workers syndicate’s secretary general, said the current circumstances in Port Said and necessity of concluding the investigations forced the syndicate to postpone participation. However, he expressed solidarity with the workers striking across the country.

There was a public strike at courts in Beni Suef, where workers demanded fair treatment and permanent contracts for temporary workers.

“These demands represent our simplest rights. Workers’ roles in the courts are not small,” Hatem Youssef, who is on strike, told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

“This strike is for dignity of workers at courts and prosecution offices,” another striker, Akram Abdel Fattah, said. “The situation should change since the revolution. The judges should treat the court employees better.”

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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