Tuesday, April 5, 2011
(Suez Canal Labor Strike, February 9.)
By Cam McGrath
"CAIRO, Apr 5, 2011 (IPS) - The state-controlled trade union federation that for over half a century was employed by Egyptian rulers to suppress workers' protests and mobilise voters for sham elections appears to be crumbling with the recent ouster of president Hosni Mubarak. "There is a movement against state control of unions," says Mohamed Trabelsi, a regional specialist on union activities at the International Labour Organisation (ILO). "You now have many strikes and labour protests in Egypt, and workers in many sectors have started to organise and form free and independent unions." Until recently, all labour union activities and finance in Egypt fell under the umbrella of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF). Membership in the state-controlled body was mandatory for most public sector employees, and union dues were automatically deducted from their salaries......
Given the pressure to reform, it appears unlikely that ETUF's leadership will remain in place until board elections, scheduled for November. Labour activists say no progress can be made until the regime loyalists are removed and a freely elected board is installed in their place. "