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Gewerkschaftswahlen - gar nicht so anders...

Seit Oktober werden in den Gewerkschaften Ägyptens betriebliche und regionale Gewerkschaftswahlen organisiert. In ausführlichen täglichen Berichten dokumentiert das "Center of Trade Union and Workers Services" (CTUWS) zahlreiche Vorfälle, in denen Kandidaten von der Wahl ausgeschlossen wurden, Belegschaften nur zum Teil wählen durften und viele andere "kleine" Vorkommnisse mehr. Wie anderswo auch, sind Gewerkschaftswahlen solange demokratisch, bis oppositionelle Bestrebungen sichtbar werden. Eine (englische) Zusammenfassung der täglichen "Ctuws Elections Report" Ausgaben 1 bis 12 mit dem Stand vom 14. November 2006.

Report No. 3 - Thursday, 26 October 2006

On the Course of the Preliminary Activities For the Trade Union Elections

On the third day of Eid ul Fitr Holiday (Thursday 26 October 2006), the Center for Trade Union and Workers Services (CTUWS) continued to follow up the preparatory operations that precede the process of registering the willing candidates for trade union elections and in particular the process of obtaining the trade union membership certificates which must be included with the other documents attached with the nomination application. The CTUWS monitored today another number of violations which are summed up in the following:

The General Trade Union of Public Utilities is still at the top of the violators' list. Workers willing to stand as candidates for the elections are still going to and returning from it hoping to find a solution for their problem and obtain the certificate of trade union membership which they should present together with their application to the candidates' registration office. The countdown has already started for the registration of the candidates' names next Saturday and Sunday.

Amongst these cases were the following:

The workers from the General Company for Drinking Water and Sanitary Sewage of Aswan could not obtain the trade union membership certificates. Both the president, general secretary and all the board members of the trade union committee of their company could not be found. It became impossible to obtain a notice from that committee to prove that they are trade union members. These notices are required by the General Trade Union in order to issue the membership certificates. At the same time, it is noticed that the present board members of the trade union committee did not go to the General Trade Union at the time allocated for this purpose by the General Union. This means that they have obtained their membership certificates through other means without having to go to in person to the General Union.

In an attempt from the harmed workers to prove the trick of the board members of this committee that aimed to remove all any workers willing to stand as candidates from their way and consequently to win by acclamation, they got a certificate from the management of the company addressed "to whom it may concern" denoting that the president of the trade union committee was absent as from14 October to date and that its general secretary was absent as from 17 October. The management of the company stated that the letter incoming from the General Trade Union concerning the dates and procedures of obtaining the trade union membership certificates was displayed on the "Announcement Board" on 18 October and that all the board members of the trade union committee were absent that day.

Eleven (11) workers willing to stand as candidates went to the General Trade Union today to request the formation of a committee to study this case and enable whoever wants to be a candidate to obtain the necessary membership certificate particularly that it has become evident that the trade union committee refused to give them the required notices. Attached with their applications were the certificates they had taken from the company's management to prove their claim. They also submitted a list of 200 workers willing to stand as candidates for election who could not obtain membership certificates. But the General Trade Union refused their demand and did not issue them the required certificates under the pretext that the problem is still pending. The eleven workers who applied today are: Mr. Ramadan Ahmed Baghdady, Mr. Hussein Attiya Mohamed, Mr. Girgis Shakir Abdel Malak, Mr. Abul Haggag Ahmed Aly, Mr. Hegazy Mohamed Hegazy, Mr. Sabry Yusuf Mohamed, Mr. Mohamed Bastawy Aly, Mr. Ahmed Awas Solaiman, Mr. Abdalla Al Ameen Hamid, Mr. Taher Anwar Tahed and Mr. Sabir Salah Omeera.

Mrs. Fatma Elsayed Mohamed Fahmy Osman, worker in Northern Mansoura Electricity Company and willing to stand for the new elections could not so far get her trade union membership certificate from the General Trade Union even though she had met all the conditions and presented all the required documents. When she asked about the reason, she could not get a good answer. At the same time, other colleagues from the same company got their certificates. She complained to different bodies not only because she was deprived of the membership certificate but also because she was badly treated by the employees of the General Trade Union who insulted her and called her names. The security people drove her out of the General Trade union when she insisted to stay until she takes the certificate.

The General Trade Union of the Workers in Food Industries, which allocated Thursday 26 October for delivering the trade union membership certificate, did not open its gate until 11:00 A.M. The building was surrounded by security forces. Hundreds of workers gathered to get their certificates since 08:00 A.M and they were standing up since then because they were denied entry to their trade union. This caused some light hassles.

The General Trade Union of the Workers in Food Industries opened its gates after 11:00 A.M. The employees in charge of delivering the certificates started too late. The workers overcrowded in the place. Security personnel started to keep order before every outlet.!! One of the forms necessary for candidature namely (Form No. 2) was not available in sufficient quantities. At the same time, the General Trade Union did not have a photocopying machine to produce more copies. This caused further delay and some workers were of the opinion that the delay was deliberate.

Mr. Aly Farag Abdel Khalek, one of the employees of the same General Trade Union was very much late. He is the clerk responsible for delivering certificates to workers coming from the governorates of Gharbiya, Sharkiya, Kafr el Sheikh, Menofiya, Dakahliya, Damietta and the Suez Canal cities. People coming from these places were very tired and exhausted. Workers from the Coca Cola Company of Kalyoub and the Mid Gharbiya Mills Company could not get their certificates until the end of the day.

The General Trade Union of Land Transport continued to keep its doors closed for those who are willing to stand as candidates. People willing to stand for election, particularly form the vocational trade union committee at Mehalla El Kobra, are very much worried because they have not taken the membership certificates to date.

The process of certificates delivery went all right so far in the General Trade Union of Textile Industries. It started yesterday (Wednesday) at 11:00 A.M to act according to the schedule made for the different governorates. The good organization and distribution of work according to the schedule prevented the formation of crowds. According to the system, an old trade unionist from every company received and distributed all the certificates of the applicants form his company. The presence of security personnel around the Union was moderate. They stayed until about 11:30 then they drove away. Workers from Misr Spinning and Weaving Company of Kafr el Dawar, the Arabian and Bolivar Spinning and Weaving Company, the 10th of Ramadan Spinning and Weaving Company and Al Seyouf and Ahliya Companies of Alexandria received their certificates. They had applied and presented notices from their trade union committees yesterday or earlier. The workers who applied today are supposed to receive their certificates tomorrow (Friday) at 13:00 P.M. No contraventions were observed in this General Trade Union.

Report No. 8 - Monday and Tuesday, 6-7 November 2006

Opening for Nominees' Registration - For the Second Stage of the Trade Union Elections And Announcement of the Candidates' Final Lists

Yesterday (Monday 6 November) was the date for opening the door for workers willing to run for the second stage of trade union elections which includes the T.U. Committees for 12 General Trade Unions namely the General Trade Unions of Agriculture, Commerce, Communications, Education and Scientific Research, Health Services, Building and Wood Industries, Sea Transport, Air Transport, Mines and Quarries and Post. At the same time, Monday was the day designated to announce the final lists of the nominees for the First Stage of the elections less than 48 hours before the ballots begin. The monitors of the Center for Trade Union and Workers Services (CTUWS) observed the following breaches and remarks during Monday and Tuesday 6 – 7 November:

Registration of the nominees for the second stage was opened in the same places assigned for the same purpose during the first stage of the trade union elections, with the exception of the General Trade Union of Textiles.

Similar to what happened in the first stage, intense security presence was noticed around the registration offices. Some places looked like military sites. In Helwan, for example, where candidates present their papers to the Labour Relations Office (of the Ministry of Manpower) close to the Central Station Square, there were four vehicles full of security personnel in civilian clothes parked behind metal barriers. The situation was not different in other places. But the Manpower Directorates in other Governorates seemed quieter than they were in the first stage.

Other than the tense presence of the security forces, no breaches were observed. However, workers overcrowded before the General Trade Union of Health Services which kept its doors closed. Due to the lack of the, they tried to find any board member from their General Trade Union, but it was in vain. This situation, which continued like this for a few days, remained until a few hours before the closing time of the registration offices. Workers could not get the trade union membership certificates. Some of them were from the Health Directorate of Assiut who were willing to run for the elections of the trade union committee.

When the final lists of the candidates were announced, some workers discovered that the lists did not contain their names. The barred candidates tried to find the locations of the Elections Supervisory Committees in order to know why they were barred. But they could not find them. Nor did they find answers from the officials of the Ministry of Manpower whose answered all the time that they did not have any information.

Tens of the barred workers tried to file urgent cases before the Administrative Courts to appeal the decisions that barred them because they were convinced that they were barred by administrative decisions. The court responded to about 150 appeals. Their cases were filed and considered within two days. The court rules to add their names to the lists of candidates.

The workers who have got this court sentence tried in vain to get their names included in the lists of candidates or even to deliver the sentences to the Manpower administrations or offices or to the heads or members of the elections supervisory committees.

On the morning of Tuesday 7 November, a group of the barred workers who have got court sentences in their favor gathered before the premises of the Ministry of Manpower in Nasr City and called to get their names included in the lists. Security forces surrounded them and arrested some of them.

Tens of the workers who obtained the court sentences kept awaiting in front of the Manpower Directorate in Tahrir Square in Cairo and the Manpower Office of Helwan which remained surrounded by steel barriers in order to prevent the candidates from gaining access to the building. This situation remained as it was until Tuesday night (20:00) i.e. a few hours before the ballots began.

Report No. 10 - Wednesday 8 November 2006

Monitoring the Voting Process of The First Stage of the Trade Union Elections

The ballots proceeded in a natural manner in some sites. In other sites, there were serious violations. But conditions were hotter in some other places. The following cases were monitored:

In the Textiles Dying and Preparation Company of Mehalla El Kobra some workers who are in favor of the management used the election tickets of their sick or absent colleagues and voted more than once. The candidates were not enabled to attend the vote sorting process because the doors were closed by the security forces. Vote sorting was made by the company management and the officials of the Ministry of Manpower without the presence of any monitors.

In the Railways Authority (34 committees and 70 000 voters), the general directors kept the voting cards of some committees with them and gave them to the workers in front of the ballots rooms in order to oblige them to vote for the favorites of the management. However, the independent candidates protested and prevented them from doing so.

In the trade union committee of the Ministry of Tourism 150 voters from the general assembly were prevented from voting without giving any reasons.

In the trade union committee of Naj Hamady Electricity the committees of the electricity stations of Abu Tisht, the Sugar Company, Al Marashda and Dishna were closed. The presidents of the committees announced that the voting process stopped at 13:30 (but the process was supposed to continue until 17:00 p.m.). The candidates filed a police report to affirm this event.

In the trade union committee of Southern Cairo Electricity Co. (Maady and Dar Essalaam) the workers observed several violations. Some workers voted more than once. The chairman of the company's board of directors (Mr. Ahmed El Kafrawy) interfered in favor of his niece. The workers protested and decided to boycott the ballots. When the workers gathered in front if the poll station, the security forces intervened, arrested 40 workers and took them to the prosecution office of Maady.

The prosecutor decided to release the workers after investigation and did not accuse any of them. The prosecutor also order to put the voting boxes and the lists of the voters' names under custody and the announcement of the results was postponed.

In the Canal Co. for Electricity Distribution, the result was announced at 17:30 (30 minutes after the voting process came to an end). The candidates protested and accused the management of falsifying the results of the election. The workers gathered and tried to resort the voting cards, but the security forces intervened, took the boxes and arrested tens of the workers.

Report 12 - On the Second Stage of the Trade Union Elections

Starting from Announcing the Nominees Final Lists on Saturday 11/11/2006 Until the Voting and Vote Sorting Operations on Monday 13/11/2006

The final lists of the nominees for the second stage of the trade union elections were announced last Saturday 11/11/2006. The barred workers in the second stage were not luckier than those barred in the first stage of the elections. The two days designated for presenting and resolving the appeals expired without tangible results. As exclusion of some workers from the nominees' lists happens without giving any justification, the same thing applies on the appeals which are not resolved or rather disregarded without any justification. It is worthy noting here that the appellant cannot prove that he/she has submitted an appeal simply because the officials of the Ministry of Manpower who receive the appeal applications do not give them receipts. The appellants do not have any other alternative !!

Similar to the nominees of the first stage, many of the barred workers appealed before the administrative courts and got court rulings to register their names in the lists of candidates. But they failed to enforce the court rulings because the committees which supervise the elections refuse to take the court rulings, let aside compliance to them.

The elections in many sites were resolved before the beginning of the ballots. The boards of five hundred and twenty five (525) trade union committees were elected by acclamation. Actual ballots were limited to four hundred and fifty (450) committees. The election process in the second stage was quieter than the previous one because the committees of the General Trade Unions of this sage are scattered in government offices and vocational committees. Few committees were in the industrial sites.

However, The monitoring process revealed the following:

Eleven workers were excluded from the final lists of Segwart Company. They are: Mr. Adel Abdalla Mohamed, Mr. Hamed Hussein El Sayyad, Mr. Adel Araby Yaseen, Mr. Abdel Hakeem Araby Yaseen, Mr. Abdel Hakeem Antar, Mr. Adel Wastawy, Mr. El Shahat Mahmoud Bedeer, Mr. Abdel Naser Abdel Hameed, Mr. Mohamed Abdel Kareem, Mr. Mohamed Elsayed Ahmed, Mr. Waheed Mohamed Ahmed and Mr. Ahmed M oussa. It is worthy noting that most of the ousted workers had participated in a labor protest (a sit-in inside the Company). This action seems to be a punishment for them. They tried to deliver the court sentences they had obtained to the Manpower Directorate of Cairo, but they failed. So, they filed a report at Kasr El Nil Police Center. Hundreds of workers protested inside the company on Sunday 12 November but they did not reach any positive result.

In Portland Helwan Co. (which belongs to Schment Company after it was privatized) seven workers were excluded from the lists. They are: Mr. Hamed Mohamed Ahmed El Hanbaly, Mr. Hisham Mohamed Ahmed, Mr. Abdel Nasser El Sayed, Mr. Mahrous Ibrahim Gad, Mr. Abdel Kareem Mohamed Ameen, Mr. Hamdy Sadek and Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed Abdel Aziz. All of them were unable to stand for elections.

Both Mr. Ayman Ameen and Mr. Ramadan Omar wee excluded from the nominees lists in Portland Torah Company. This was the only breach in this committee. Contrary to the usual practice, glass boxes for the voting cards were seen in this committee. (May be because it is a foreign company !!).

In Al Shark Insurance Company the workers were surprised to find two nominees ousted from the lists on the eve of the elections (Sunday 12/11). A few hours before the ballots, it was announced that the relative division of the constituencies has been changed. The central zone (Cairo) got the lion's share of the seats of the trade union committee (8 seats). One seat was allocated for the branches of Lower Egypt and the Suez Canal cities, one seat for Alexandria and one seat for Upper Egypt.

In Cairo the election committees of Heliopolis and Nasr City were merged with the city center committee (26 July Street) in order to weaken the participation rate because of the difficult transportation from the eastern parts of Cairo to the city center. Voting stated in many places after 10:30 a.m. In Dokki a police officer and sergeant were present all the time beside the voting box. Neither the candidates nor their representatives were allowed to attend vote sorting. In spite of the completion of the sorting process, the announcement of the results of the elections was postponed until the next morning.

In the Ferrous Metals Research Center of Al Tibbeen (member of the General Trade Union of Scientific Research) five workers were barred. They are: Mr. Esam brahim Mahmoud Mustafa, Mr. Aly Khalil, Mr. Muneer <ohamed Ismail, Mr. Ahmed Besheer (a trade union member in the former term) and Mr. Magdy Zaghloul (a trade union member in the former term). They filed appeals, but they did not receive any answer. A few hours before the ballots it was announced that Mr. Esam brahim Mahmoud Mustafa was added to the list. His name was written in the voting card by pencil outside the alphabetical order of the candidates' names.

In the trade union committee of Alexandria Port Authority, the barred workers tried to enforce the court rulings they had got and to register their names in the lists, but they failed to do so.

Security personnel of the Authority prevented the candidates from entering the ballots. The candidates crowded before the gate. They were not allowed to attend the vote sorting process.

In the trade union committee of the Egyptian Communications Co. (Ismailia Branch) the candidate Mrs. Jehan Fouad discovered that a person has put a number of the voting cards in one of the box (in Committee No. 2). She insisted to stop the election process in that committee. The other candidates supported her. There were doubts that the elections are forged in favor of the candidate Mr. Sayed Galal. They protested and caused the elections to stop from 12:30 to 14:30.
The candidates were allowed to attend the vote sorting process. But after the end of sorting, and before the final counting process, the candidates were forced to leave. They were told that the results will be announced the next morning (14 November) and that they nobody will be allowed to be there.

In the trade union committee of Mehalla El Kobra Bus Utility the supervisors insisted to prevent the candidates from attending the sorting process. The candidates protested particularly that one of the officers from the state security detectives was inside the room. After protests a compromise was reached. Only six candidates were selected to witness the sorting process on behalf of the others who were forced to accept this compromise.

Al Timsah Company of Ismailia did not witness serious breaches. However, the candidates were anxious because some election committees were on board ships which wee difficult to reach. This affected the voting rate and made it very difficult to monitor the process there.

In the Egyptian Company for Fish Marketing the candidates were allowed to witness the sorting process. However, during the sorting process they discovered serious forgery in the box of Heliopolis in which they found false election cards which wee not signed by the Head of the committee. The candidate Mr. Mohamed Kandeel filed an appeal at the Manpower Directorate against the election procedures.

The Center for Trade Union and Workers Services (CTUWS)
Monday 13/11/2006
11:00 p.m.

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