Central Security Forces cordon of the Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions' offices after members of the dissolved executive committee and other disgruntled employees sought entry on Sunday 7 August 2011. (Photo Mai Shaheen)
Supporters of the recently dissolved executive board of the Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions (EFTU), numbering around 600, cut off all traffic on El-Galaa Street in downtown Cairo. Three Central Security Forces (CSF)personnel carriers have surrounded protesters and managed to open one lane for car traffic.
Earlier this morning, angry workers and former executive board members officials tried to enter the headquarters of the Federation but found that the building is closed for two days.
Three days ago, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf dissolved the board in order to enforce a court order which stipulated that Federation leaders rigged their own election in 2005.
Minister of Manpower Ahmed El-Borai has successfully lobbied Sharaf, on behalf of scores of newly formed independent unions, to dissolve the executive board which is stacked with supporters of ousted president Hosni Mubarak labour officials.
Gamal Beshir, an official with the chemical workers union, passed on a flyer carrying an image of the manpower minister with a US official and accusing him of working Washington’s agenda. Another flier, bearing an image of Kamal Abbas, general coordinator of the Centre for Trade Unions and Workers Services, accused the labour leader of working a Zionist agenda. He argued that Sharaf and El-Borai were destroying Egyptian’s workers rights which president Gamal Abdel Nasser had ensured in 1957 through the creation of the EFTU.
Another official form the Postal Workers Union, Nasr Abu El-Yazid, who was a member of the now dissolved executive board, was unpleased with the presence of CSF cordoning off the building. “We were voted in through elections monitored by the judiciary. This decision by Sharaf is based on a 2006 court case which has nothing do to with us; we were elected after the fact.”