Egyptian workers demand law for trade union independence
Labour activists want the law to ensure the independence of trade unions and break the monopoly of the governmental Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions, which they view as corrupt and anti-labour
Ahram Online, Sunday 29 May 2011
Egypt’s workers called upon Prime Minister Essam Sharaf to issue a decree/law that would ensure the independence of trade unions in a statement released today by the Centre for Trade Union and Workers' Services.
The statement accused the leaders of the official Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions (EFTU) of resorting to Mubarak-era methods thus flaunting the freedoms for which the Egyptian revolution fought.
Trade union freedoms, the statement says, entail by necessity the dismantling of the corrupt, government controlled EFTU.
In the statement, the workers slammed the federation for sending a delegation of 23 of its top bureaucrats to attend the International Labor Organization conference in Geneva without clarifying who would cover the expenses for the trip.
They asked whether the federation would use the workers’ membership fees to cover the trip expenses. They also demanded to know whether the government or the heads of industrial public sector companies would cover the costs.
The new law the group is calling for would provide for the freedom of workers to organise in trade unions of their choice. According to the statement, the EFTU is rejecting the idea of a new law because it would harm their authoritarian imposed control over the trade union movement.