International Solidarity in Action on Tahrir Square earlier this Year The independent teachers' union in Egypt is fighting for the enactment of legislation to ensure trade union rights The union - which was founded before the revolution is part of a wider confederation of independent trade unions in Egypt. Last month two supply or contract teachers were arrested by the military who were breaking up a sit in of teachers demanding permanent contracts. The peaceful sit in was harrassed by security forces who surrounded it and fired shots in their direction. Some of the supply teachers have been on temporary contracts for twenty years. Regular readers of this website will know that the use of contract teachers on low wages with no security of tenure is one of the main ways in which governments attempt to destroy teaching unions, save money and in the process undermine education. The Egyptian government has yet to enact a decree from the 2nd March 2011 which says that teachers on temporary contracts should be made permanent once they have been in post for three years. The Independent Trade Union Federation is calling for international solidarity in its fight for basic labour rights for example the decriminalisation of strikes and demonstrations. It is also calling for an end to foreign funding and interference. One of the founders of the federation Kamal Abu Aita - of the tax authority union said:  “Sometimes when people talk about international solidarity they focus on trade unionists in countries like Egypt receiving training from colleagues in the developed world. I think that training can be useful, but I prefer to call it an exchange of experiences, rather than training. Solidarity is a conversation and we can all learn from each other.” Teachersolidarity can only applaud this statement which is exactly the model of global solidarity which this website is aiming to foster. Read an interview with Kamal Abu Aita at: In another development Education International has held a conference of independent Middle Eastern and North African trade unions with the goal of furthering the call of independent and critical trade unionism in the region. Delegates from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia and Yemen came together at the conference. The inability of the Bahraini teachers' union to take part - because their leaders are detained - was deplored by delegates. To read a report of this conference go to: