The Tragedy of the Trade Union Elections in Egypt

We received this article from a trade union activist in Egypt who reports on how the state security police have removed candidates in the trade union elections who are opposed to privatisation. It is quite clear that a very angry mood is developing among Egyptian workers and the state, in collaboration with the leaders of the trade unions, are attempting to stifle the growing opposition.

We received this article from a trade union activist in Egypt who reports on how the state security police have removed candidates in the trade union elections who are opposed to privatisation. It is quite clear that a very angry mood is developing among Egyptian workers and the state, in collaboration with the leaders of the trade unions, are attempting to stifle the growing opposition.

As we had expected the (state security) police interfered in the trade union elections in an open and barefaced manner. Hundreds of workers were removed from the list of candidates. Also a great number of workers' leaders were transferred to different places.

The government is aiming to present the 'unified labour law' in the next period, and it is also intent on carrying out to the very end the process of privatisation and sackings. That is why they decided to get rid of any kind of opposition that may show up inside the trade unions.

Here is a list of these dirty manoeuvres: The General Union of Building and Wood workers: 10 candidates were removed and replaced by government supporters. Delta Steel company: 11 of the workers' leaders were removed. Helwan Steel co: 5 candidates were removed. Nasr TV company: 1 candidate was removed. In the city of Kafr el Dawar (which includes Kafr el Dawar spinning, Kafr el Dawar artificial silk, Kafr el Dawar chemicals) the state security terrorised the workers' candidates and prevented them from presenting the candidate lists. In Alexandria at the Ideal Company 11 workers' candidates were removed. At the armaments factories numbers 909, 999, 45, 63 and 27 a total of 19 workers were removed. At the Betro Gas company, two leftist leaders were removed from the list for what they call security reasons. The General Union of Food Industries refused to hand the membership certificates to the socialist candidates. In the town of Fayoum the workers of the public utilities didn't receive their wages. The purpose of this was to intimidate the workers and get them to stand down, as they had formed a unified list under the slogan 'For a strong union to protect the workers'.

The General Workers' Union has declared that it is preparing a list of about 500 workers whose names will be removed from the next election lists because of police reports: 35 workers in Alexandria, 30 in Behera, 165 in Cairo, 68 in Assuit, 66 in Menia, 112 in Giza and 15 in Domiatt. The elimination process was pronounced by a committee formed by the Ministry of Labour together with the president of the General Workers' Union who is a government man.

In response to these exclusions, 120 of the workers' candidates went on strike and set up a picket for 3 days outside the offices of the

General Workers' Union. The offices of the General Workers' Union have been witnessing daily pickets protesting against government interference in the workers' elections.

Yours,
an activist (Egypt)
viva la revolution,
October 24, 2001

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