Egypt: Manpower Minister - Inactivated Trade Union Freedoms Law to Be Reviewed


Egypt: Manpower Minister - Inactivated Trade Union Freedoms Law to Be Reviewed


Minister of Manpower and Immigration Kamal Abu Aita said that he called on the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF) to participate in the final revision of the inactivated draft law on the trade union freedoms in order to be approved and issued by the president of the republic as soon as possible.


Egypt: Railway workers go on open strike


Egypt: Railway workers go on open strike

17 January 2013


 Egypt’s railway workers decided to stage an open-ended sit-in at Cairo’s Ramses station on Tuesday, following the tragic Bardashin train accident that happened overnight.

A train traveling from Upper Egypt to Cairo derailed on Tuesday morning, killing 19 conscripts and injuring 107, in yet another traffic tragedy.

The striking workers have demanded the sacking of the Board of Directors of the railway, and restructuring it, according to the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights’ official page on Facebook.

The strike came in response to "holding the workers liable for the accident in a similar reaction to the previous train accident which was less than two month ago."

A train had rammed a school bus in a similar incident where 50 people, mostly children, were killed in a city South of Cairo in mid-November.

13 workers killed in accommodation blaze


13 workers killed in accommodation blaze

14 January 2013

 Manama: Thirteen workers, mainly from Pakistan and Bangladesh, were killed when a fire swept through their three-storey accommodation in downtown Manama.

The fire broke out in the afternoon and witnesses said that firefighters who were praised for their prompt intervention to prevent the blaze from spreading in the windy weather were still dealing with the tragedy by 10pm.

The roof of the building in the crowded area of Mukharga collapsed and the firefighters needed time to find the charred bodies of the victims.

“The civil defence teams rushed to the scene when the case was reported at 15:44 and reached at 15:50,” a senior officer from the Civil Defence said. “Several tenants were rescued and a civil defence serviceman was injured when the roof collapsed. The fire was controlled before reaching nearby buildings, and the bodies were removed,” the officer said on the interior ministry’s website.

All Unionized and Nowhere to Go in Egypt


All Unionized and Nowhere to Go in Egypt

15 January 2013

 Decree 97 of November 25, 2012 went virtually unnoticed in the political upheaval following President Morsi’s November 22 constitutional declaration which granted him almost dictatorial powers. Decree 97 amended the law regulating trade unions and removed all office holders of the state-sponsored Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions (ETUF) over 60 years old. They are to be replaced by candidates who received the second-largest vote tally in the 2006 national union elections—widely considered exceptionally corrupt. In August 2011, the Ministry of Manpower and Immigration certified their invalidation and dissolved the ETUF’s executive board.

The decree also authorizes Minister of Manpower and Immigration Khalid al-Azhari of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party to appoint replacements to vacant trade union offices if no second-place candidate exists. State security officials banned thousands of opposition trade unionists from running in 2006, so hundreds of candidates ran unopposed. Thus, as many as 150 Muslim Brothers could be appointed to posts in ETUF’s twenty-four national sector unions, while fourteen of twenty-four executive board members will be sacked.

Additionally, Mubarak regime stalwart ETUF President Ahmad ‘Abd al-Zahir was replaced by al-Gibali al-Maraghi—a younger member of the old guard—and Muslim Brother Yusri Bayyumi became ETUF treasurer. Only three advocates of independent trade unionism remain on the executive board. On December 24, President Morsi appointed al-Maraghi to the Shura Council, the upper house of parliament, which many suspect was a reward for working with the Brotherhood

Gas bills collectors strike across Egypt


Gas bills collectors strike across Egypt

28 December 2012



 Four hundred of Egypt’s gas bill collectors go into their 15th day on strike over better wages.

The workers are employed by NATGAS, a private company, which collects gas bills in three Cairo districts as well as in 13 other governorates on behalf of the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS). The workers’ main demand is a rise in wages, consistent with NATGAS’ charter that is by EGAS. According to Mohamed Abul-Gheit, a bill collector from one of Cairo’s branches, the charter puts the minimum monthly wage for a collector at LE500 ($82) plus some LE350 ($57) as transportation allowance. "The company charter also gives us the right to a bonus equivalent to 100 per cent of the basic salary and a share of the company profits that should not be less than 6 months worth of salary," explains Abul-Gheit, who represents workers from the NATGAS independent syndicate in Al-Herafeyan (north of Cairo) office. "But actually, we only get a basic salary of LE400, a transportation allowance of LE150 and LE200 per month as profit sharing," assures Abul-Gheit, who has been working as a bill collector for three years. Labor action has become a regular affair in the Egyptian workplace since the January 2011 uprising ousted President Mubarak. The much-celebrated uprising handed the impoverished Egyptian population rosy promises of prosperity and financial ease under a new regime. A looming financial crises and a persistent recession, however, are showing how unrealistic such expectations were. NATGAS’s management was very reluctant to comment on the issue. Mohamed Rashwan, managing director of NATGAS refused to comment. "I will not discuss the company secrets over the phone," he told Ahram Online. "The administration had a meeting with the workers and we clarified everything but they insist on maintaining the strike", said Abdel-Rahman El-Sharkawi, financial manager, refusing to give further details. Due to the lack of efficient legal and regulatory mechanisms to resolve labor problems in Egypt, such workplace crises usually extend for months until one of the parties gives in to the other. Strikes have taken place on and off in various major establishments across Egypt, including seaports, public transportation, hospitals and schools. Abul-Gheit, the bill collector, said the administration informed them that collectors, who go door-to-door to drop off the bills and collect payment from residents, are not mentioned in the charter and that such a position is new in the company

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