Egypt manpower ministry accuses ETUF of financial crimes

Ahram Online, Friday 22 Nov 2013

Manpower ministry begins 'fierce war' against Egyptian Trade Federation Union, including accusations of financial crimes and new law protecting independent unions

ETUF Banner
Egyptian Independent Unions banner in Tahrir during January uprising against Mubarak (Photo: Reuters)

The manpower ministry will file a report to the attorney general accusing the Egyptian Trade Federation Union (ETUF) of financial improprieties, ministry consultant Abdel-Khalek Farouk told Ahram Online on Thursday.

The move comes as part of a "fierce war" against ETUF corruption, spearheaded by the manpower ministry, Farouk added.

Accusations of financial crimes levelled against the ETUF are found in a report prepared by the Central Auditing Organisation (CAO) and submitted to the manpower ministry. 

"Those abuses remain in effect, and at least six ETUF management should go to jail for their crimes," Farouk said.

The "fierce war" also entails a new law that would offer independent trade unions the same legal protection as state trade unions, such as the ETUF. The law is expected to be approved by the current cabinet.

In July, Kamal Abu Eita was appointed as the new manpower minister. Abu Eita is known for his role in forming Egypt's first independent trade union, the Real Estate Tax Authority Independent General Union, in 2009. He also led the Tax Authority employees' national strike in 2007.

ETUF members opposed the appointment, accusing Abu Eita of being against them.

ETUF head Gamal El-Maraghy threatened to close the federation's doors if Abu Eita's position was not rescinded.

Attempts to create legal protection for independent unions were made under Ahmed Hassan El-Borei, who was manpower minister under the interim military rule following the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

El-Borei demanded the dissolution of the ETUF executive board and approved a Syndicate Freedom Law aimed at eliminating some of the constraints on workers' unions imposed by the 1976 Trade Union Law No. 35.

Although the board was dissolved on 4 August of the same year, the interim military leaders never ratified the bill, leaving independent unions outside the scope of law.

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