Union Freedoms.. A Step Backwards

Press Releases
Monday, January 4, 2016 - 12:22


Union Freedoms.. A Step Backwards

In an escalated step against independent unions that is a stark attack on union freedoms, the cabinet issued a periodical detailing the directives of the president to ministers and was as follows:

  • The importance of abiding by a single unified directive that is approved by the cabinet to unify the policies of financial dealings related to the labour sector in companies under the various ministries
  • The concerned ministries should coordinate with the general union of Egyptian workers to help it in achieving the workers’ righteous gains thus activating its role in worker circles against independent unions and instigatory members. This is to be achieved through organizing monthly meetings with the leaders of the union and the general trade unions to work on early detection of problems and consulting about their solution through field visits to labour sites and showcasing this in the media to establish government concern for labour problems.
  • Studying the holding of a large scale meeting with the second and third tire of leaders in the ministries, authorities, governorates and companies to enlighten them about the limits of the current stage and the achievements that have been achieved to encourage them to perform their role in the coming stage as the main vein of executive work

The Center for Trade Union and Worker Services values the government’s attention lately to the stark labour issues and problems that have reached an unprecedented level of deterioration on the level of working conditions and living conditions. It however sees in the prejudice towards the governmental and official trade union an undoubted assertion that this union, as we have repeatedly said, is losing its independence and is unable to talk on behalf of the workers or represent them. 

The Center would like to assert the following:

First: that one of the most important problems that the workers suffer from is the continuation of this administrative committee that manages the affairs of unions in Egypt and that was appointed in 2011 following Essam Sharaf’s government implementing final court verdicts that ruled for the annulment of the union elections of 2006 because of rigging.

Second: that the independent unions were established by the workers out of their own accord and they were not forced to join them and their membership fees are not deducted forcibly contrary to the governmental structure falsely called the Worker’s Union that forces the workers to join it and for which the fees are deducted forcibly. The workers do not even have the right to know where revenue from this membership is spent.

Third: The independent unions gain their legitimacy not only from the will of the workers who established them but also from the constitution and the treaties of union freedoms that Egypt has signed on. That is why it is no longer acceptable for the independent unions to continue to be portrayed illegitimate entities born in darkness and that their members are a bunch of evil dowers working against the interests of the state.

Fourth: The Center expresses that it is extremely depressed from the government’s handling of the legitimate unions established by workers out of their own accord and which are considered a solution to a large part of the workers’ problems. These workers have restored to those unions due to the absence of the real role of unions in the corridors of the official union who stood for a very long time at the head of the beneficiaries and opportunists who care for nothing other than their private interests.

The Center stresses that the independent unions were established due to a need for a strong union that was absent for many years and that the workers have achieved and will not give up on. The government has to deal with the independent unions as they are the real voice of workers.

The directives issued by the president only mean a stark intervention in the affairs of unions and a clear violation of the 2014 constitution in which article 76 asserts the right of Egyptian workers in establishing their unions.

The president issuing a directive to the workers’ union asserts what we have announced repeatedly, which is that this union in no more than a governmental establishment that receives orders from the executive authorities and can not be a union organization whose only role is defending the rights of workers and work to improve their working conditions.

Center for Trade Union & Workers' Services (CTUWS)


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