Results of New Workers’ Syndicate Elections to be Announced Today

AHMED ISSAWY / STAFF PHOTOGR APHER

Election results for the new independent American University in Cairo employees’ syndicate are set to be announced today in a meeting of the executive office and general assembly of the syndicate in Mary Cross hall today at 2 p.m.

Elections were held last Monday May, 9 where 33 employees competed for 14 seats as well as the title of president. “The executive seats are divided into seven for staff members: five for workers and two for maintenance employees,” said Tarek El Maghrabi, member of the syndicate founding committee. He described the elections as very successful and that a large number of employees voted. He added that the elections were monitored by a judicial committee as well as the Equal Opportunity Office.

El Maghrabi said the administration was very neutral and that the new syndicate easily held their elections in a fair environment.

He added that the by-laws, which the syndicate will operate under, as well as it’s program and the details surrounding the election results would all be revealed in today’s meeting.

“The most important demand that the syndicate will be working on with regards to the workers is that the average worker feels that they have someone to represent them to the administration,” says Walid Shebl, a housekeeping staff member who was elected into the syndicate. “We will also strive to achieve fairness in the distribution of wages, working hours and holidays so that all employees are equal,” he added. “Although the executive office is divided into staff, workers and maintenance, every member of the executive office represents all the employees of the university,” said Shoukri Abdel Baqi, a staff representative.

 Abdel Baqi stressed on the concept of equality between staff, faculty and workers, asking why workers had to take different busses, which are usually much worse than the ones taken by faculty and students, which he described as “discrimination.”

He also said that one of the main demands was a minimum and maximum wage as well as some other services like a social center for employees and a summer retreat.

“I think these are very good suggestions,” said Shebl before adding that these recreational benefits will help the AUC community bond. The new syndicate was formed after the minister for labor force, Ahmed Borai’s decision last March which says that the state allows for the independence of syndicates from the ministry and in their governance, programs, funds, and leadership choices.

“The new syndicate was formed to meet the demands of employees and truly represent them,” said El Maghrabi. “The syndicate will notify the ministry of labor force of its formation and will then become an official, independent body,” he added.

“The minister’s decision allows for independent syndicates but it does not allow for two syndicates in the same institution,” said Magdi Hindawi, president of the official syndicate. “Could there be two student unions?” he asked.

He also asked why the people who formed this syndicate could not wait until next November and run for election to the official syndicate. As for those who dropped out of the official syndicate to join the independent one, Hindawi says, “what is built on falseness is false.”

“Article 10 of the syndicates law says that the resignation of any syndicate member must be submitted to the president to be reviewed in 30 days but what happened is that they wrote resignations to the members of the formation committee of the new syndicate,” he said. Hindawi also stressed that the old syndicate has achieved many of victories on behalf of employees like permanent employment for the temporary workers hired under the umbrella of Compass Egypt.

“The original syndicate had enough weight, legal legitimacy and legal knowhow to make the administration listen to it,” he said. “Multiple syndicates will affect unity,” he added.