Although our struggle for the right to stand to together in the workplace can be difficult, we live in a country that allows for freedom of speech and we do not have to fear being jailed or physically assaulted for voicing our opinions and standing up for others. Unfortunately, not everyone in the world is protected by such freedom.
An Algerian union activist named Yacine Zaid has been punished by his government for speaking out on the behalf of others. As a representaive of IUF in Algeria, Zaid helps workers to organize for their rights, most notably within the UK catering company Compass.
Recently, Zaid was arrested for his outspoken defense of and work for human and workers’ rights, and was beaten by police. He was released, but shortly after he was picked up by unidentified men, while friends and family were left to fear for his safety and his life.
Zaid is scheduled to appear in court next today on trumped up charges. Together with IUF, UFCW is urging members and allies to speak out and put pressure on the Algerian government to drop these charges before it is too late.
We must stand together with our union brothers and sisters not just across the country, but across the globe. When human life is threatened simply for standing up for other people’s well-being, we cannot stand back and watch.