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Labor movements in Tunisia and Egypt: drivers vs. objects of change in transition from authoritarian rule


Bishara, Dina

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Corporate Editor Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik -SWP- Deutsches Institut für Internationale Politik und Sicherheit
Abstract Egyptian and Tunisian unions have played radically different roles in their countries’ transition from authoritarian rule since the ouster of longstanding Presidents Hosni Mubarak and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in early 2011. The legacy of different variations of authoritarian rule as well as the history of the respective labor movements has had significant consequences for their ability to shape post-transition politics. Whereas the Egyptian labor movement is fragmented, and control over labor organizations has become a battlefield for competing political forces in Egypt, organized labor emerged as an actor in its own right, playing a leading role in the Tunisian transition by mitigating political conflict and helping to move the process along. In both Tunisia and Egypt, “official” unions will need to address issues of internal reform to become more effective representatives of their members’ interests. In addition, the legal framework will have to be significantly altered, at least in Egypt. German and European policymakers, unions, and political foundations should support steps toward more effective and empowered unions that can represent workers’ rights by encouraging legal reform and supporting independent unions through training and exchange. (Autorenreferat)
Keywords Egypt; Tunisia; labor movement; union movement; workers' representation; political change; North Africa; democratization; transitional society
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Free Keywords Union Générale des Travailleurs Tunisiens
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
City Berlin
Page/Pages 8 p.
Series SWP Comments, 1/2014
ISSN 1861-1761
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications