Independent trade unions and committees for workers in the petroleum sector have joined with the General Trade Union of Petroleum Workers, said Emad El-Araby, a leading member of the formerly independent Petrotrade syndicate.
The announcement of this decision came in a Monday press conference led by Mohamed Saafan, head of the General Trade Union of Petroleum Workers, which is an affiliate of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF).
Mostafa Rostum, head of the ETUF’s International Relations Administration, explained that, in its decision to join the larger union, the independent syndicates have left the Egyptian Union of Independent Syndicates.
El-Araby pointed out that the two independent unions that have made the decision are the Car Gas worker and Petrotrade syndicates.
“Earlier, the general union represented the government, not the workers,” El-Araby said, noting that the new leaders of the general union are moving towards achieving the workers’ demands.
If the general union continues to work towards the similar goals of independent syndicates, “there is no reason to be separated,” El-Araby added.
Negotiations have taken four months, Rostum added, noting that many independent syndicates “might make a similar move”.
A new law allowing the establishment of two or more subsidiary trade unions within one institution has been discussed by the workers community earlier in September, with the independent workers announcing their approval and ETUF rejecting the law.
Earlier in September, former leader of ETUF Gebaly El-Maraghy was replaced by Abdel Fattah Ibrahim following a vote by 24 general unions. After his appointment, Ibrahim stressed that his work agenda will focus on achieving social justice, amending labour legislation and setting a minimum and maximum wage system.
Minister of Manpower Kamal Abu Eita stated in November that he will file a report to the prosecutor general accusing ETUF of financial violations. However, ETUF noted that the Central Auditing Organisation (CAO) has already reported several discrepancies within the union and that ETUF has addressed them.
Abu Eita was president of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions before becoming the Minister of Manpower in July. After his appointment, hundreds of ETUF workers protested his appointment.