Sunday, May 22, 2011

Independent labor union rejects ETUF representation

Al-Masry Al-Youm
Independent labor union rejects minister decision on representation

Fri, 20/05/2011

Hisham Yassin

The Independent Federation for Egyptian Workers refused Minister of Manpower Ahmed al-Borei’s decision to allow the official Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF) to represent Egypt in international conferences. Head of the Independent Federation Kamal Abu Eita called on the minister to implement the State Council ruling to dissolve the ETUF’s board of directors.

ETUF vice president Abdul Monem al-Ghazali asserted that the existing board of directors will remain in place until democratic elections are held next November.

Abu Eita told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the official federation must be brought down, much like other agencies representing the old regime. Egypt’s workers deserve the same as the rest of Egyptian citizens, he said, and their federation must be powerful and independent.

We do not deny that workers got a number of privileges after the revolution, including trade union freedoms and the establishment of a committee to reformulate wages, Abu Eita added. Abu Eita pointed out that the workers’ motto prior to the revolution was “a fair wage and an independent union.” He said that the demand for an independent union has not been achieved yet and everyone must remember that Egypt was put on the black list because of the official federation.

Abdul Monem al-Ghazali asserted that the ETUF has played an important role in the previous period to secure workers’ rights and said that the ETUF’s dissolution should not be achieved through court rulings.

The ETUF can only be dissolved by the workers themselves, said Ghazali. Al-Ghazali noted that the ETUF includes 5 million workers and 24 unions and that its board of directors is elected by the workers.

Al-Ghazali added that the ETUF does not like to hem and haw, because this is how the weak behave. Instead, the ETUF resorts to serious work. Al-Ghazali said that elections to the ETUF’s board of directors would take place next November and that the ballot box would be the judge. Al-Ghazali expected that this year’s elections would bring about changes in the board of directors. He said such changes are natural and noted that the last elections changed 60 percent of the board’s members.

*Translated from the Arabic Edition

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