"Enough you killers" - Egypt's independent unions confront state labour front

Press release from the Centre for Trade Union and Workers' Services

11 June 2011

A heated confrontation and an eloquent lesson given to the leaders of "the Egyptian Trade Union Federation"
Kamal Abbas interrupts a speech by Ismail Fahmy saying: "Enough, you killers ... enough all these years"

June 10, 2011: The participants in the sessions at the International Labour Conference on Thursday, June 9, witnessed a heated confrontation between the two Egyptians sides present - one side being the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF), the official government trade union federation closely allied to the former regime, and the other side, the CTUWS, and the newly formed Independent Federation of Egyptian Trade Unions. Kamal Abbas, the General Coordinator of the CTUWS categorically interrupted Ismail Fahmy, the Acting Head of the ETUF, during his speech given in the plenary (main hall) of the ILO's Conference, opposing the premise and commitment of the ETUF to continue to represent the Egyptian workers, repeatedly saying, "Enough ... enough ... what you have done to the Egyptian workers over the past decades". He cited some of the numerous other sins committed by the ETUF against the legitimate rights of workers.

Mr. Ismail Fahmy, the Acting President of the ETUF, was in a state of confusing paradox before delivering his speech in the presence of both the government delegation headed by Dr El-Borai, Minister of Manpower and Immigration, and representatives of the CTUWS and the newly formed independent trade unions, where with the overlap of lengthy meetings and speeches one after the other - the Acting President of the ETUF - Egypt was introduced as a representative of the workers' group of Ukraine!

Before the attendees at the meeting noticed the wrong introduction of the speaker, Kamal Abbas stood in the hall to object to Fahmy's status from the an objective point of view, saying that the ETUF no longer had the right to represent the Egyptian workers, particularly after the participation of some leaders in the plot the of 2 February 2011, known as the "incident of the camel attacks" on the crowds in Tahrir square.

Kamal Abbas said emphatically: "Enough ... all these years ... and crimes enough! ... Enough you killers! ... You participated in the passage of the privatization deals, and facilitated and justified the blatant attacks on the rights of workers ... You defended with impunity Mubarak's regime with its corruption, repression and tyranny, and then you plotted against the killing of the revolutionaries in Tahrir Square!"

The meeting hall shook with these strong words! And there continued to be echoes in the corridors and hallways of the International Labour Organization, and many of the delegations present continued to ask and question: until when shall those who belong to the regime that the Egyptian people revolted against continue to claim to represent the Egyptian workers?