The Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF) has issued a “code of conduct” calling for “no strikes, more production and work” in advance of Labour Day on 1 May, the Ahram Arabic news website has reported.
The ETUF dedicated the “code of conduct” to Egypt’s president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Monday, as he attended a ceremony at the Police Academy in celebration of Labour Day.
The code of conduct, a copy of which was acquired by the Ahram Arabic website, describes the workers’ movement as one that seeks to defend workers’ rights and has “never attempted to undermine the law.”
“These syndicates that respect the law are completely aware that workers’ interests are achieved only through stability and social peace,” it reads.
The ETUF has recently participated in drafting a controversial new labour law for Egypt.
Like the current labour law, Law 12 of 2003, this draft law recognises the right of workers to peacefully strike. It is said to keep articles 192 and 195 of the current law, which stipulate that workers need to notify their syndicate and employer before holding a strike, and that they are considered to be on unpaid leave for the time of this strike.
The new draft law however bans the workers from making political demands or escalating their demands during a strike, or striking during negotiations with their managers, their syndicate or the ETUF.
“Our problem is with direct escalation to strikes,” ETUF secretary-general Mohamed Wahballah told Ahram Online in a comment about the draft law, explaining that workers should first negotiate with their managers, then with their syndicate, and finally with the ETUF before striking.
The ETUF was to present an award to El-Sisi during Monday’s ceremony. The president was also to hand a medal to ten workers who have contributed to the union’s work at the event, which was also attended by prime minister Ibrahim Mahlab, manpower minister Nahed El-Ashri and ETUF president Gebaly El-Maraghy.
Egyptian workers should be patriotic and should never seek to hinder Egypt’s stability, according to the ETUF code of conduct. “The joy of Egypt’s workers, today celebrating their day, will not be complete until Egypt’s economy recovers and we destroy all criminal hotbeds that target Egypt’s stability and security.”