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Unter diesem Motto fand am 13.Juni 2005 eine grosse Versammlung oppositioneller Gewerkschafter im Kairoer Anwaltsverein statt, unter anderem in aktiver Anwesenheit zweier Parlamentsabgeordneter. Da sich in Ägypten gegenwärtig die Stimmung für Veränderung entwickele sei es gerade jetzt nötig, unabhängige Gewerkschaften zu haben, betonten die Konferenzteilnehmer und forderten die Abschaffung des Gewerkschaftsgesetzes von 1976. Die (englische) Pressemitteilung des CWTUS vom 16.Juni 2005

Press Release

Within the framework of its campaign to realize the workers’ democratic rights particularly the right to establish their autonomous trade union organization, the Center for Trade Union and Workers Services “CTUWS” held a conference on Monday June 13, 2005 at the premises of the Lawyers’ syndicate in Cairo under the emblems “Destroy Your Constraints Now”. “The Right to Form Trade Unions”. “Annul Law 35 for the Year 1976 and its Amendments”. A big number of and workers, activists and labor leaders from different industrial areas attended the conference. They came from Helwan, Mehalla el Kobra, Sadat City, 10th Ramadan City and Menoufia Governorate. The principal speakers were Mr. Ahmed Nabil El Helaly, Mr. El Badry Farghaly (Member of the People’s Assembly “the Parliament”), Mr. Mohamed Abdel Aziz Shabaan (Member of the People’s Assembly “the Parliament”).

After discussions for more than two hours, the conference decided to issue the following statement:

The Egyptian society regained life. It has become active. Change is no longer just an emblem adopted by some members of the opposition or just an aspiration for those who are constrained by the current situation. Change is no longer meaningless words in the documents of the ruling party or false promises presented by governments incapable of giving anything more than promises. Change has become a critical necessity.

The call for change moved from the surface to the bottom of the society. Various societal categories started to draft their democratic demands and to raise their voices in defence of their rights. Democracy is not jus the right to express opposition in newspapers, whatever the importance of this action might be. Democracy is not the right to cry, complain or expression of concerns. Democracy is the right to active effectiveness… the right to change.

Democracy is the right of the different social classes and categories to organize themselves in collective action to express their interests, practice their effective roles and affect decision making in defence of their rights and their share in the surplus in the national economy and wealth.

As change has become a very critical demand, and as the status quo cannot continue as it is, the Egyptian workers must be on the vanguard of the chose calling for change. This is because their rights are violated. They are the makers of life, and should have the right to benefit from their produce. But their share in their national economy is reduced day after day. They are the makers of history in participation and independent popular action, but they are now deprived of the right to organize themselves. They are the category the most deprived of this right.

The present situation cannot continue as it is. The trade union law and its totalitarian philosophy have aged similar to other law that impose trusteeship on the people’s movements and organizations and deprive them of their right to draft their regulations and systems by themselves. Such laws choke the popular organizations in a single form imposed from the top and tied up by the administration that interferes even in the tiniest details of their affairs.

The trade union law is aged and the sole trade union organization that made it has aged too. Such laws are becoming out of date day after day all over the world. Their jargons are no longer understood because they are incapable of comprehending modern concepts, developments and renewed experiences.

The present conditions cannot continue any more. The workers’ conditions are getting worse. The minimum wages stipulated by law have become a farce because the do not sustain a single person. Temporary labour contracts are prevailing and permanent employment is diminishing. Black labour relations cover the private sector. The business public sector has been either robbed and liquidated or in the best conditions sold whereas thousands of workers are thrown out. The social insurance network collapsed with the collapse of the public sector. There is no alternative to deal with the ever increasing unemployment rates, seasonal work and informal employment.

The conditions of the Egyptian workers are deteriorating. Meanwhile they are deprived the right to organize themselves to have their tools and weapons and form independent organizations that enable them to lobby and play an effective part in negotiations.

At the present time, labour leaders come from outside the trade unions and in many cases they act against the interests of the trade unions. The public sector workers suffer from forced membership in the sole trade union organization whose authority is focused in the top. Nor can it defend the private sector workers who are completely short of any trade union coverage.

The present trade union organization suffers from the loss of vitality and democracy. Moreover, it sustains an octopus structural crisis. Its quasi forcible membership is decreasing with the liquidation of the public sector units, whereas it is unable to extend to the private sector which needs struggle in order to organize its workers. Forced membership stipulated by the law No. 35 of the year 1976 and its amendments.

Egyptian workers cannot establish independent unions whereas the formal trade union organization claims that it represents them. It falsifies their will because it is the highest voice that calls to keep the status quo and opposes any call for change.

They refuse the freedom to establish trade unions under the assumption that they defend the labour movement unity. But true unity cannot be realized without the freedom to choose. Unity cannot be arbitrary. They reject the freedom to establish free trade unions because they oppose any form of plurality. They want the president of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation to put all the Egyptian workers in one basket and to present it to the top authorities on May Day celebrations every year. They are against any multiplicity in organization or even in opinion. But our case is not limited to multiplicity as much as it is concerned with the right itself, because the Egyptian workers are basically deprived of the trade unions. The branches of the present formal organization are not real trade unions

The present status quo cannot continue as such. It is high time to lift the legal constrains that tie up the workers right to establish independent trade unions.

The law No. 35 of the year 1976 and all its amendments confiscate the right to establish trade unions. It is an unconstitutional law and in contravention with all the international conventions which the Government of Egypt ratified. It violates a basic right of the human rights.

We call for the annulment of the current trade union law. Similar to many countries, it suffices to add one chapter to the labour law that includes the articles which provide legal protection to the trade union activities.

It is high time to break all the constrains and to annul the law that confines the right to establish trade unions.

Centre For Trade Union And Workers Services “CTUWS”

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