Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Records of the first ever recorded labour strike

Posted by Fredsvenn on November 14, 2014

 strike-papyrus

A contemporary document recounting the first ever recorded labour strike, which occured in Deir el Medina, Ancient Egypt during the reign of Ramses III when workers did not receive their rations.

A contemporary document recounting the first ever recorded labour strike, which occured in Deir el Medina, Ancient Egypt during the reign of Ramses III when workers did not receive their rations.

The sit-down strikes occurred in the 12th century BC, on the 21st day of the second month in the 29th year of the reign of the pharaoh Ramses III, while Ramses was fighting a series of wars and engaging in an extensive building campaign.

The strikers were hereditary craftsmen who worked on the tombs of the pharaohs, the vast complexes that to this day draw visitors from all over the world to the Valley of the Kings.

This papyrus was written by the scribe Amennakhte at Deir el Medina. It describes the workers’ struggle, and the corruption which had spread throughout the administration.

Records of the strike in Egypt under Ramses III, c1155BC

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