Thursday, February 24

Independent trade unionists in Egypt protest at nomination of new minister of manpower

The Centre for Trade Union and Workers' Services, a group which played an important role in the recent launch of a new independent trade union federation in Egypt, has called for protests against the appointment of an official from the old state-run "union" to be minister of manpower and immigration.

CTUWS also reports that: A delegation from the Egyptian Independent Trade Union Federation went to the Higher Military Council today [22 February] at 8:30 pm to present their urgent call against choosing Ismail Fahmy, Treasurer of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation “the official federation’, to be the minister of Manpower. The urgent call has been received by the Military Council which promised to response soon.

The website of Al Yaum Al Sabei’ Newspaper announced from learned sources that Ismail Fahmy Treasurer of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation “the official federation’ is nominated for the post of the Minister of Manpower and Immigration to replace Mrs. Aisha Abdel Hady in stead of Dr, Ahmed Hassan el Boare’i the expert of labour relations who was nominated for the same post yesterday.

The Egyptian Trade Union Federation “ETUF”, according to the Newspaper, “held an extraordinary meeting yesterday chaired by Hussein Megawer after the announcement of Dr. el Borae’i as a nominee for this post. Board members of ETUF refused their full refusal of Dr. el Borae’i who is known for supporting trade union plurality. The ETUF considered this attitude a threat to the workers’ interests”. Then the ETUF sent a memorandum to General Ahmed Shafik head of the interim government in which they nominated Ismail Fahmy for the Ministry of Manpower”.

The Center for Trade Union and Workers Services “CTUWS” was surprised by the insistence of the government to follow the same infamous trend of the previous regime which combined the official trade union federation with the Ministry of Manpower to the extent that both of them became two administrations subject to the political authority. Consequently both of them lost their efficiency and effectiveness. The CTUWS warns against the serious repercussions of defying the workers’ will and legal right to enjoy their trade union freedoms.

The adoption by the new government of ETUF’s nominee indicates that the government adopts the same position of ETUF which stands completely against trade union plurality. It is a denial of the Egyptian workers right to choose their trade unions freely and a continuation of the restrictions imposed on this right which caused congestion in the labour arena and resulted in the situation we are undergoing at the present time.

Choosing Ismail Fahmy Treasurer of ETUF instead of Hussein Megawer will not change the situation. It will not reduce the indignation of the Egyptian workers who suffered a lot from the attachment of ETUF to the despotic regime for many years. The ETUF was one of the tools of oppression used by the regime to deprive then from their rights, to monopolize their representation and forge their votes. This action will not appease the youth who were victims of the inhuman massacre of the second of February 2011 which was plotted in collaboration with the ETUF.

The CTUWS warns against this infamous choice which will increase congestion at the labour arena and will block the way to the opportunities for dialogue and negotiations between the social parties which cannot be attained without democratic representation of all the parties. The CTUWS calls upon all the democratic and active powers of the society to address an urgent call to the Higher Military Council to halt this governmental approach which lacks rationality and good choice.

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