Meeting of Trade Unions to Discuss the Trade Unions’ Code of Conduct to Foster Equality and Non-Discrimination
Inspired by the history of the Egyptian labor movement which is full of struggles for more than 120 years, and in spite of all obstacles it faced and drawbacks it suffered; the movement always had clear stances regarding the values of democracy and equality;
Whereas a union is not a true union unless it includes all men and women workers, regulate their work, and unify their efforts in defense of their rights and interests without discrimination; and because rights and freedoms of association that workers struggle to achieve are not complete without adherence to principles of equality and renouncement of all forms of discrimination;
And whereas the independent trade union movement grew in the recent years; and managed to achieve some gains, went forward to elaborate their democratic concepts and directions, and aspired to developing their structures, bodies and practices on the basis of true participatory democracy;
CTUWS, in cooperation with the Permanent Conference for Working Women, organized a large meeting for trade unions in Cairo. 46 trade unions and workers’ leaders participated in that meeting representing the Federation of Unions of Workers in the Ambulance Authority, the Union of Workers in Real Estate Taxation Authority in Alexandria, the Union of Workers in Alexandria Library, the Union of Workers in the French Kasr Al-Ainy Hospital, the Union of Tourism Professionals (under establishment), the Union of Workers in the Egyptian Authority for Adult Education, the Union of Workers in Supplies in Ismailia, the Union of Workers in the Hostels of Al-Azhar University, the Union of Workers in Drivers’ Services in Qalyobeya, the Union of Fishermen in Damietta, the Union of Workers in LEONI Company, the Union of Workers in Real Estate Taxation Authority in Suez, the Union of Workers in Nile Linen Group, the Union of Workers in the Central Office of the Real Estate Taxation Authority, the Union of Workers in Mondelēz Company, the Union of Workers in Mines and Quarries in Minya, the Union of Workers in the Company of BituNil for Waterproofing Materials, the Union of Small Farmers in Beheira, the Union of Small Women Farmers in Minya, and the Union of Workers in Real Estate Taxation Authority in Ismailia. So, participants were from the governorates of Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Ismailia, Beheira, Damietta, Minya, and Gharbeya. The meeting was held to discuss the draft Code of Conduct for the enhancement of equality and non-discrimination based on gender in the world of work. It included a number of rules and principles as follows:
- First: Regarding General Principles:
- Defending the right of all Egyptians men and women – without discrimination – to equal job opportunities, the right to job security, salaries that fulfill their needs, and fair labor relations.
- The right of all Egyptians men and women to enjoy freedoms and services without discrimination based on sex, religion, race, social status, or political opinion.
- The right of Egyptian men and women workers to establish their own unions based on their free will, and to practice trade union activities without any kind of restrictions.
- Defending principles of democracy, equality, right to organize, and freedom of opinion and expression.
- Respecting others; accepting differences, diversity and plurality of opinions; and rejecting all forms of violence.
- Refraining from any action or activity that contradicts the principles of equality or any action or speech that justifies or beautifies discriminatory practices.
- Abiding by principles of democracy, standards of transparency and accountability in the activities of trade unions.
- Second: Regarding Trade Unions’ Activities
- Commitment to the strengthening of values of democracy, and principles of equality; and fighting all forms of discrimination in places of work and in society at large.
- Defending the rights of working women, adopting their gender-specific issues, working on enabling them to express their problems and demands, and resisting all forms of discrimination or violence they may endure.
- Working to raise community awareness of issues of working women and winning allies and supporters to them.
- Recognizing the gender-specific issues of working women; and providing services that respond to the needs and concerns of working women at the work place.
- Commitment to act against violence and harassment in society and unequivocally declare this.
- Seeking to cooperate and coordinate with civil society organizations and all democratic institutions that defend issues of working women and agree with our trade unionist principles.
- Third: Regarding Internal Work of Unions:
- Commitment to building a democratic union in which all members equally participate in the formulation of its policies and decisions, as well as the writing of its internal bylaws and the free choice of their representatives without interference or restrictions of any kind.
- Abidance by the standards of transparency and accountability, and developing effective mechanisms for internal self control.
- Encouraging and supporting individual and collective initiatives of men and women members to develop trade union activities in different fields, especially issues of equality and the life of working women.
- Commitment to developing organizational structures of unions that guarantee gender equality and the participation of women unionists in decision making.
- Commitment to providing all forms of support and solidarity to women unionists who face any form of violence or defamation because of practicing their union activities.
- Implementation of the principle of proportional representation in all union structures.
- Developing the abilities and skills of women unionists, and empowering and supporting them to improve their union performance.
- Preparing training manuals and seminars to exchange experiences and information among members, and to encourage women unionists to participate by choosing times and places that are suitable to their family conditions.
- Preparing specialized programs for strengthening gender equality and equality of opportunity in which men unionists participate in order to improve the role of women workers and develop their abilities in trade union activities and decision making centers.
- Spreading awareness of issues related to working women like maternity leave, sexual violence and harassment at the work place, and all issues related to gender equality and discrimination.
- Launching more campaigns to encourage relevant institutions to improve the legislative, economic and social environment of work for women.
Unions signing this Code of Conduct are committed to form a coordination and follow-up committee responsible for preparing a system and work plan that enable them to undertake the following tasks:
- Spreading this Code of Conduct and developing and unifying work among unions on the basis of the principles of the Code of Conduct.
- Organizing regular meetings to exchange knowledge and experience among unions, and developing possible support to develop the work of unions and abidance by the principles of the Code of Conduct.
- Organizing meetings and workshops for representatives of unions to follow up and evaluate activities and plans of unions; to determine to what extent they are consistent with the principles of the Code; and to write follow up reports about them.
In light of the above, the principles and rules of the Code of Conduct were developed. It was agreed upon that all participating unions will abide by this Code of Conduct, and they pledged to make the policies and rules of their unions consistent with principles of equality and democracy and non-discrimination based on gender, and with activating and abiding by its provisions as integral part of their bylaws.
- The Federation of Unions of Workers in the Ambulance Authority
- The Union of Workers in Telecom Egypt
- The Union of Workers in Nile Linen Group
- The Union of Workers in Nile Company for Waterproofing Materials (BituNil)
- The Union of Workers in LEONI Wiring Systems
- The Union of Workers in Mondelēz Egypt
- The Union of Workers in the Company of Al-Nahr Al-Khaled 4 (Sabaa)
- The Union of Workers in Mines and Quarries in Minya
- The Union of Small Farmers in Beheira
- The Union of Small Women Farmers in Minya
- The Union of Fishermen in Damietta
- The Professional Union of Tourism Professionals in Cairo
- The Professional Union of Tourism Professionals in Giza
- The Union of Workers in Real Estate Taxation Authority in Alexandria
- The Union of Workers in Real Estate Taxation Authority in Suez
- The Union of Workers in Real Estate Taxation Authority in Ismailia
- The Union of Workers in the Central Office of the Real Estate Taxation Authority
- The Union of Workers in Real Estate Taxation Authority in Menofeya
- The Union of Workers in Real Estate Taxation Authority in Minya
- The Union of Workers in Real Estate Taxation Authority in Kafr El-Sheikh
- The Union of Workers in Real Estate Taxation Authority in Marsa Matrouh
- The Union of Workers in Alexandria Library
- The Union of Workers in the French Kasr Al-Ainy Hospital
- The Union of Workers in the Egyptian Authority for Adult Education
- The Union of Workers in Supplies in Ismailia
- The Union of Workers in Hostels of Al-Azhar University
- the Union of Workers in Drivers’ Services in Qalyobeya
- The Professional Union of Workers in Quality Control in Cairo
- The Union of Workers in the Public Prosecution and Courts in Cairo
- The Union of Workers in the Faculty of Law of Ain Shams University