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British teachers send solidarity message to striking Egyptian teachers

A branch of the UK's National Union of Teachers tells Egypt's striking teachers theirs is a struggle without borders

Monday 19 Sep 2011
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The Sheffield branch of Britain's National Union of Teachers sent a message of solidarity to Egyptian teachers whose nation-wide strike entered its third day Monday. Below is the text of the solidarity message:

Dear comrades,

Trade unionists in Britain are watching the Egyptian revolution with great interest.  Egypt is at the heart of the Arab rising which has inspired workers everywhere.

In Britain we are recovering after a long period in which we were ruled by fear and apathy.  We never had a Mubarak or a police state but the trade unions were dealt a heavy blow when Margaret Thatcher beat the miners in 1984. We now have a neo-liberal government which is bent on destroying our public services, our welfare system and our pensions. But this year we have seen that the trade union movement is beginning to respond. Members of my union were part of a national strike on 30th June involving 700,000 public sector workers.  On November 30th around 3 million public sector strikes are set to strike together- in what will be the biggest strike in decades. Events in Egypt have helped to give us the inspiration.  I have heard my fellow teachers in the staff room saying "If they can get rid of a tyrant like Mubarak we can deal with an idiot like Cameron."

There are no borders in this struggle.  We all owe you a debt of gratitude.  Please pass this message on to Egyptian teachers.  The fight for decent pay and conditions is at the heart of the fight against the corrupt neo-liberal elite who are everywhere enriching themselves at the expense of the vast majority. And without the right to strike and to form independent unions, democratic freedoms will mean very little.

Wishing you all the best in tackling social issues such as low pay and employment conditions, and in progressing your revolution towards a socialist outcome,

Ben Morris
Joint Branch Secretary
Sheffield NUT (National Union of Teachers)
England

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