Egyptian Trade Unionists: Declaration of Independence

Egyptian Trade Unionists: Declaration of Independence and statement of support for BDS.

Egyptian Independent Union Federation
28 June 2011
Statement

In light of the growing controversy about the independent trade unions and malicious accusations and allegations aimed at undermining the Egyptian workers’ movement and the trade unions which it created, we, the representatives of the independent unions, are signing this statement of the fundamental principles on which they are being built and on which trade unions which represent workers are founded.

1. The independent unions have appeared in Egypt ending an era during which trade union work has been monopolised by the state and the ruling party, and this is due to the struggle of the Egyptian workers and their sacrifices, and nobody can claim otherwise. At the same time we extend our thanks and greetings to all those who support the principles of trade union freedom and the right to organise so long as this support is without conditions.

2. The independent unions confirm their independence from all political parties, official institutions and organisations, human rights organisations, and individuals. The independent unions confirm that they only follow the wishes of the general assemblies of their members and that the principle of independence is a general principle which applies to all without exception. In the same vein, the independent unions assert that only elected representatives from the base of the unions have the right to speak on behalf of the trade unions and declare their positions, and that no outside parties have the right to do so, unless those positions have been agreed by the elected representatives of the independent unions.

3. The independent unions depend for their funding on the contributions of their members and will not accept financial support from any other source at home or abroad. The general assemblies have complete authority for the financial supervision of the unions. We affirm that this principle self-reliance and self-funding is an inseparable part of the principle of independence on which the unions were founded.

4. We affirm that this principle of independence dates from before the revolution and that the revolution came to bless this perspective and to issue laws to protecting this same principle, the first of which was the constitutional declaration on the freedom to form unions the announcement of the principle of trade union freedoms. This declaration contributed to Egypt’s name being removed from the ILO blacklist of countries violating workers’ rights as did the draft law on trade union freedoms. We affirm that the principle of independence is not tied to an individual or a government but is a fundamental right of all of who work for a wage in this country, and they will not give it up in any circumstances.

5. The independent unions completely reject any form of normal relations with the Zionist enemy, as they reject all forms of co-operation with any person or organisation who is involved in normalisation or is calling for normalisation. We affirm our complete support for the right of the Arab Palestinian people to create an independent state in the whole of Palestine, and their right to use whatever means of resistance to achieve their rights. We affirm also that one of the principal reasons for our rejection of the old Egyptian Trade Union Federation is its subservience to the state and the National Democratic Party, and its participation in a visit to occupied Jerusalem and its failure to take any position opposing the policy of normalisation, such as the QIZ [Qualified Industrial Zones] Agreement and the gas supply agreement and other policies which the Egyptian Trade Union Federation by its silence supported while the Egyptian workers’ movement rejected them and was resisting them.

6. The independent unions value the Arab people’s struggle for freedom and social justice.

Long live the Egyptian Revolution!
Eternal glory to the Martyrs!

Egyptian Independent Union Federation

Signatories:
1. The Real Estate Tax Authority Union
2. The General Public Transport Authority Workers’ Union
3. The General Union of Civil Aviation Pilots
4. The General Union of Builders and Woodworkers
5. The Egyptian Peasants’ Union
6. The General Union of Antiquities Workers
7. The General Union of Sales Tax Workers
8. The General Union of Health Sciences
9. The General Independent Union of Teachers
10. The General Union of Communications Workers
11. The Manshiyet al-Bakri Hospital Workers’ Union
12. Du’aa Hospital Union
13. The General Union of Workers in the Ministry of Labour
14. The Media Production Workers Union
15. The General Union of Pensioners

Original statement in Arabic here. Translation from 3arabawy.

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