Egypt: Bad start for democracy – trade union freedom under threat

Brussels, 05/12/2012

The ETUC Executive Committee, meeting on 5 December in Brussels, expressed their deep concern at recent developments related to the draft Egyptian constitution. According to the constitution the current authorities seek to impose, trade union pluralism will de facto be prohibited and the state will continue to exercice control on trade unions. The ETUF - that was the transmission belt of the Mubarak regime – would, if the constitution is adopted, continue to function as the transmission belt of the Morsi regime.

The provisons for trade unions and labour law are in stark contradiction with international standards, particularly those of the ILO.

The European Union has a specific responsablity to help foster democracy. The EU Commission and European External Action Service claim that civil society is a part of the EU-Egypt Forum, whose recent meeting was hailed by them as a success. However, the ETUC regrets that it has not been invited to the meeting of the Forum and, worse, that the Egyptian government was allowed to exclude human rights organisations and the new democratic trade unions.

The ETUC calls on the EU institutions, especially the EU Commission, the EEAS and the European Parliament, to revise their policies in the light of recent developments. The ETUC, jointly with the ITUC, will continue to extend its support for a democratic and free trade union mouvement in Egypt, a cornerstone for the transition towards democracy.