Egypt Watch

CTUWS: The National Security Agency prevented labour leaders from running for trade-unions elections

The Center for Trade Union and Workers Services (CTUWS) said the recent labour elections witnessed threats and interference from the National Security Agency.

Kamal Abbas, the general coordinator of the rights group, said that the Ministry of Manpower intervened to engineer the elections in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior.

Abbas added that there was no hope in the government-controlled Egyptian Trade Union Confederation.

The rights group had warned against security interference in union elections, noting that this may lead to a loss of confidence in the electoral process.

Karam Abdel Halim, head of the Union Committee of the Suez Canal Clubs, an independent union, had said that he was forced to visit the National Security Agency after his candidacy papers were refused to be approved in the current labour elections, claiming that there were instructions from the agency not to allow his documents to be processed. Abdel Halim, a leftist Bread and Freedom Party member, added National Security officers had told him that they did not want him to run.

The CTUWS said that what Abdel Halim was subjected to was not just an isolated case, as many union leaders were subjected to pressures and threats that practically deprived them of their right to run for elections. The National Security Agency systematically prevents people from running in union elections by threatening them or not enabling them to obtain the necessary papers, according to human rights and labour organizations.