Saturday, April 25, 2009

National & International Recognition of Real Estate Tax Employees' Independent Union

I received this text from the Center for Trade Union & Workers' Services in Egypt:

The PSI confirms the affiliation of the independent Egyptian RETA Union
Today, in Nyon Switzerland, during its meeting for the year 2009 - which extended from 22 to 24 April - the Executive Board of the Public Service International [PSI]approved the affiliation of Egypt's independent Real Estate Tax Authority Union[RETA]to the PSI.

Earlier, the independent RETA Union had submitted its request for membership within the PSI - as of the 29th of December, 2008. The RETA Union's affiliation to the PSI had been confirmed last March by its African and Arab Regional Committees.

It is worth mentioning that the workers employed at Egypt's Real Estate Tax Authority had recently - as of Tuesday, 21st April - submitted their Union's constitutional forms and documents to the competent administration in the Ministry of Manpower/Labor. This action, which is the first of its sort for over a half of century, has challenged the solid enclosure and rigid state-controlled structure of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation - which has historically prevented workers from freely or independently organizing their own trade unions in Egypt.

For the first time in fifty years there are Egyptian workers who have resolved to establish their union in accordance with their own will, with their own democratically elected representatives; a union reflecting their real interests, representing their independent movement and calling for their rights. For the first time in Egypt, there are workers who are able to challenge all the legislative restrictions imposed on their right to freedom of association, and their right to formulate their union's constitution, bylaws, structures, policies and strategies in keeping with their concerns and priorities.

Over the course of twenty months, the RETA workers have gone on to develop their own movement and to establish their own independent union. This task was realized through their well-organized nationwide strike in December 2007, to their latest action - on Tuesday, 21st April - through which they managed to establish their free trade union establishment. Over the course of these twenty months the RETA workers have realized their goals and have achieved landmark historical results.

The CTUWS welcomes the establishment of the independent RETA union, which is deeply representative of the Egyptian labour movement's spirit; the CTUWS also congratulates the RETA workers for the realization of their ambitions - which have been been materialized in a realistic form. As such, this marks the end of a long and bitter period characterized by arbitrary violations against their right to freedom of association.

The CTUWS expresses its deep appreciation and gratitude to all the defenders of democracy and of the right to freedom of association in Egypt and abroad, and to the international labour movements and trade union movements which supported the RETA workers and their trade union rights - especially the International Trade Union Confederation [ITUC], and the Public Services International [PSI].

The CTUWS hopes that the independent RETA union may be able to further develop its positive and valuable experiences - free of intervention and intimidation; the CTUWS also calls upon you to support their legitimate movement and their independent union.

On behalf of those who strive towards freedom, we call for the immediate enforcement of international labour standards in Egypt, and for the removal of all legislative restrictions imposed on the right to freedom of association.

The Center for Trade Union and Workers Services

Friday, 24th April, 2009

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