Yousra El Nemr
Seventy out of approximately 2,800 staff members applied for the workers’ syndicate elections that was planned to take place on Tuesday Oct. 25 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The elections included candidates and voters consisting of security officers, maintenance workers, and staff.
The independent workers’ syndicate was formed to guarantee that the university staff are receiving their rights after a series of strikes that took place on campus in the past year.
Everything appeared to be running smoothly until approximately one hour before voting was scheduled to close, when the elections were suddenly cancelled. The voting process took place in both the old and the new campuses and the voters were supposed to nominate 15 or less from the candidates. If more than 15 were selected by a voter, then the vote is considered invalid.
The problem that arose was that at the elections held on the new campus, voters were told to select 15 names, and a vote of less or more than 15 names is not counted, which did not happen in the old campus where the voters were allowed to select 15 or less as was initially planned.
Every staff member had the right to apply as a candidate in the elections. There were no specific criteria for applying, and the application process was mainly through the syndicate’s Facebook page.
“This is not the first time to have an independent syndicate for the workers; we had the first one 6 months ago, and its main goal was to finish the legal proceedings for the syndicate. Those proceedings were actually done before the end of the six months. Then the door was opened for nominations for the elections,” said Tarek El Maghraby, one of the candidates and a senior lab supervisor in the school of Global Affairs and Public Policy (GAPP).
El Maghraby added, “In the previous workers’ syndicate, the members were hugely concerned with the workers’ rights and they always stood up for them. For instance, a committee was formed to solve the problem of dismissing some staff members with no clear reason. This committee is under the presidency of Hany El Sayed, head of the Law Department, with Ahmed Abu El Kher as a representative of the independent workers’ syndicate, Maha El Gendy as a representative of the administration, and finally Hesham Shaker, representing the student body”
On the scene of the elections, the candidates were enthusiastically witnessing the process and discussing their plans.
“My main goal is to follow up with the university administration (with regards to) all the demands that were made or actually implemented on the ground. Also, I aim, with the other members of the syndicate, to receive any kind of complaints from the workers and consider them. One more thing is to give some concern to the workers’ activities and provide them with some sort of entertainment,” said Ibrahim Edrees, one of the candidates and a security supervisor on campus.
Edrees also praised the role of the students and their support for the elections, especially the Judiciary Committee that helped in organizing the elections.
“Being aware of the workers’ problems and complaints and being ready to exert efforts as much as possible to save the workers’ rights in the AUC community are of the features that must be in any candidate for such elections,” said Mahmoud Abd El Azeem, one of the candidates and the assistant manager of the student account office.
Abd El Azeem explained that he is very satisfied with the integration of all the university staff in the elections and their positivity in the voting process.
The re-elections are planned to take place on Tuesday Nov. 1.
One of the workers, who chose to remain anonymous, commented sarcastically by saying, “If we are not able to organize elections for a group of people in a university, then we will never be able to organize our next parliamentary elections.”