il manifesto editors’ note: We publish posthumously this article by Giulio Regeni, an il manifesto contributor who was based in Cairo while researching his doctoral thesis. On Wednesday, his tortured body was discovered in a ditch in the city. Because independent trade unions are a contentious topic in Egypt, Regeni asked us to publish this article under a pseudonym, as we have done in the past. Today, we publish this last dispatch under the author’s real name.
Giulio Regeni wrote: President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi presides over Egyptian Parliament with the highest number of police and military personnel in the history of the country, and Egypt ranks among the worst offenders with respect to press freedom. Yet independent trade unions are refusing to give up. The Center for Trade Union and Workers’ Services (CTUWS), a beacon of independent Egyptian trade unionism, has just held a vibrant meeting.
Although the largest room at the center has 100 seats, the meeting hall could not contain the number of activists who came from all over Egypt for an assembly that was extraordinary in the current context of the country. On the agenda was a recommendation from Sisi’s ministers for close cooperation between the government and the country’s only official union, the Egyptian Trade Union Federation, with the explicit order to counter the role of independent trade unions and to further marginalize workers. [Continue reading…]