The Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions EFITU
The Federation calls for participation in “Revolution First” Friday,
to preserve the rights of workers and pensioners.
The founding board of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions held a meeting to discuss developments in the country’s economic and political circumstances. The board condemns the unacceptable return to the use of violence by police against the protesting families of martyrs and youths of the revolution. This started against workers by means of the unacceptable law criminalizing strikes, which violates Egypt’s international obligations. To achieve balance in labor relations, the board demands the rapid issuance of a trade union freedom law (which has become an necessary and pressing matter), as well as amending Labor Law 12 of 2003, given that the presence of real trade unions which speak for workers will lead to dialogue and negotiations through which stability in labor relations can be achieved.
The leadership of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions was surprised by the position of Dr. `Isam Sharaf’s government, which aimed to lay the cost of austerity solely on workers, pensioners, and the popular classes generally, despite the existence of many ways to fund the public treasury. The great calamity is that this all takes place in the absence of any societal or national dialogue, in which representatives of the three arms of production participate in negotiations about the path out of the crisis, and about how to distribute burdens so as to guarantee the country’s stability and stimulate the economy.
The founding board condemns the finance ministry’s audacity in cutting 3.2 billion Egyptian pounds from the budget, which had been set aside to increase the lowest pensions by raising their minimum threshold to 300 Egyptian pounds.
The Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions points out that economic and social demands were at the heart of the reasons leading to the January 25 revolution. Continuing to ignore them will increase the hardship and misery of the great majority of citizens, who still hope to achieve their basic demands:
- A minimum wage for workers and pensioners that is graduated for all, commensurate with living expenses and increases annually in proportion to the rise in prices. This will provide them and their families a decent, dignified, and humane life. Additionally: setting an upper limit to employment income in the proportion of 1:10.
- Adding 2008’s pay increase to pensioners, and graduating it throughout the years 2009, 2010, and 2011.
- Implementing the progressive tax system, for workers, civil servants, and the poor alone cannot carry the burdens of austerity in order to get out of this crisis.
- Implementing the law of taxing financial transactions and real estate taxes.
- Eliminating collective allocations from salary budgets.
- Ratifying the Trade Unions Freedoms law, which guarantees workers and business owners their right to form their independent organizations in freedom. This will ease the process of negotiating with them, and lighten the severity of congestion in the workplace. In this context, the Independent Federation reaffirms the necessity of accelerating the establishment of an independent negotiating body that will work to solve the most severe issues while awaiting this law.
- Immediately suspending from work all those responsible for killing revolutionaries, and launching speedy, open trials for them.
- Holding accountable all those responsible for crimes of corruption and wasting public funds.
- Dissolving the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (which formed the labor arm of Mubarak’s regime and his National [Democratic] Party) and investigating the violations committed by its corrupt leaders, thus implementing the many judicial rulings issued against it.
The founding board of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions, as one of the elements making up the people and the glorious 25 January Revolution, calls on all the sons of the Egyptian people—especially Egypt’s male and female workers and pensioners—to participate heavily in “Revolution First” Friday, to affirm the revolution’s demands and the Egyptian people’s right to determine their own future, and to build Egypt on the foundations of democracy and social justice.
The Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions
Address: 88 Qasr al-`Ayni Street, next to al-Sha`b Bookstore, First Floor, Apartment 7
Tel: [redacted] – Mob: [redacted]
Acquired 8 July 2011
Translated by Thomas Odell
Translation Reviewed by Alex Winder