21 December, 2009

Free union celebrate anniversary, State unions withdraws from international federation

Two days ago, members of the independent URETA-union for real estate tax collectors gathered to celebrate the opening of their headquarter and the one year anniversary of the founding of the first free union in Egypt since 1957. The celebration was attended by the regional secretary of the Public Services International, which accepted URETA as a member last spring and has criticized interference in the work of URETA by state-controlled union officials. 

Apparently, this visit has now provoked three state-controlled unions in Egypt to withdraw from PSI in protest against recognition of the "illegal" URETA union. State union officials explain that they are not against the right of free association (of course) but only against "interference in the internal affairs of Egypt," something every "honorable Egyptian would reject." 

Also, on December 26 the new general union for employees of tax- and customs authorities will be officially included in the Egyptian Trade Union Federation as the 24th general union in Egypt; a move that should be understood as part of the ongoing attempts by the ETUF to marginalize the free URETA union. 

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