Hossam Emad – Vice Chairman, General Trade Union of Petroleum Workers (GTUPW), Egypt
Hossam Emad, Vice Chairman of the General Trade Union of Petroleum Workers (GTUPW) in Egypt, provides an overview of the organization’s role and activities, as well as his thoughts on the petroleum labor market in Egypt.
Can you please give us an overview of the role and activities of the General Trade Union of Petroleum Workers (GTUPW)?
“The petroleum sector is the main pillar for development in Egypt as new oil and gas discoveries add to our reserves and also provides job opportunities to thousands of youth, whether in exploration, production or petroleum services.”
The main role of the GTUPW is the creation of a balanced relationship between the workers and the administration in order to preserve workers’ gains and to try to have more gains according to the available resources. GTUPW is the main supporter of the trade union committees with the administration of the companies, with the Ministry of Petroleum and also with the General Authority for Petroleum as it helps the committees to present the problems of the workers after investigating them. The general union is the representative of petroleum workers in front of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF), the Arab Union for Petroleum Workers and regional and international workers’ organizations.
The General Union always tries to provide a suitable work environment and therefore it organizes many activities that aim at uniting workers with each other. Among these activities is the women’s committee, which organizes a lot of meetings to discuss and solve women issues, and also celebrates occasions related to women. The sports committee also has an important role as it organizes matches and competitions among the companies of the sector. There is also the social activity committee that tries to bond workers by organizing trips with low fees to touristic places. There is also a social team that celebrates workers’ occasions. We also cannot forget the cultural committee that performs artistic plays put together by the workers themselves (performing, directing, set design, scriptwriting, etc.). In addition, the union also provide other services to the workers with very low fees.
For our international audience, can you describe the current state of the petroleum labor market in Egypt? What are the key strengths, opportunities and challenges in the Egyptian labor market right now, especially for the oil and gas sector?
The petroleum sector is the main pillar for development in Egypt as new oil and gas discoveries add to our reserves and also provides job opportunities to thousands of youth, whether in exploration, production or petroleum services.
The petroleum sector is considered a promising labor market, so young people should gain qualifications through training in order to be ready and qualified for working in petroleum companies.
H.E Mr. Mohamed Saafan – the Minister of Manpower – has spearheaded an initiative to coordinate the Ministry of Manpower and the Ministry of Petroleum to train a large number of young people to be qualified for working in petroleum sector. I also want to emphasize that oil and gas, besides being a source of energy, also provide raw materials for other industries such as petrochemicals, medicine and textiles. This has a great impact on the economy and provides job opportunities not only within the petroleum sector, but in other different sectors.
H.E. Minister of Manpower Mohamed Saafan was telling us about the labor reforms that his Ministry is implementing to improve Egypt’s labor situation. How is the Union working together with the Ministry for the welfare of your members?
In fact H.E. the Minister, since the first day of assuming the position, has been doing his best to achieve stability and protection for all Egyptian workers, both within and outside of Egypt. Petroleum workers are naturally a part of this.
All that is done by the Ministry of Manpower, GTUPW and all other trade unions is for the worker, who is the most important element of the labor process. When we speak about production, we mean a secure production that can be achieved through providing a suitable work environment and providing protection – medical treatment, sports activities, entertainment, etc. The worker should also get a suitable salary for labor hazards, his efforts and the efficiency acquired by continuous training.
How will the Ministry of Petroleum’s Modernization Program, which includes an initiative on training people and improving Egypt’s human resources, improve the petroleum workforce in Egypt?
The Ministry of Petroleum is represented in the General Authority for Petroleum and its different companies are always developing the means of its work through organizing courses for both union and non-union workers to familiarize themselves with the most recent technology – also to know the most recent means of industrial security, occupational health and environmental protection. These courses aim at the continuity of the workers’ efficiency in the petroleum sector and following up all the recent.
Egypt exports a lot of talent regionally and globally. What do you see as the special skills, talent and expertise of the Egyptian people in the oil and gas sector?
The petroleum sector in Egypt is considered a regional and international center for the training of people in the field of petroleum. Continuous training provides people with special qualifications that enable them to work in international companies. In many of the places that have a petroleum sector, you will find many who had been working in the Egyptian petroleum sector, in addition to those who are working in gulf countries as the Egyptian worker works with faithfulness and bears severe work conditions.
Finally, as the Vice Chairman of the General Union of Petroleum Workers, what do you hope to accomplish in the next few years?
As the Vice Chairman of GTUPW, I hope that the efforts of the president will see reward as he is working from the heart and you can see his love for Egypt and Egyptians.
I also hope that stability and security prevail in Egypt in order to encourage more investors. I also hope Egypt can achieve self–sufficiency and even become an exporter of gas again in the upcoming years.
I also wish to complete the great projects we have started, and to provide job opportunities for all young people so that they can consequently progress and promote Egypt’s welfare.