Cairo, March 24 2011: Egypt's newest trade union was established on Thursday; the Independent Union of Public Transport Authority Workers. Hundreds of PTA workers attended the inauguration and preparatory conference of their independent trade union - at the Journalists' Syndicate.
Joining this union are 60,000 bus-drivers, conductors, mechanics, and engineers employed in the PTA - from across greater Cairo. Tens of thousands have rallied for the establishment of representative, accountable and democratically-elected trade union committees.
Workers voted to break away from the General Union of Land Transport Workers, a yellow union within the (state-controlled) Egyptian Trade Union Federation. This new union is the fifth independent association to be established since 1957.
Over the course of the past two years five independent unions came into being:
The Real Estate Tax Authority Employees' Union,
The Independent Teachers' Syndicate,
Egyptian Health Technologists' Syndicate,
And today the Independent Union of the Public Transport Authority Workers.
The Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU) - a confederation of the first four associations - was established on January 30th, 2011.
By Jano Charbel.