Egypt

A voice

Ahma Refaat, an Egyptian trade unionist from Cairo, has fought for social justice for decades.

The first time I was arrested was in 1977 while protesting the bread price increase under President Anwar Sadat.

Refaat has been arrested countless times since then, most recently during the 25 January 2011 protests that ushered in Egypt's first democratically elected government.

One outcome of the mass protests was the formation of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions, breaking a six-decade state monopoly on the trade union movement. Scores more independent trade unions have since emerged.

But the revolution is still not over for Refaat and other activists: not until workers, employers, and civil society are involved in the policy-making process.

Restrictions on unions must be lifted and social dialogue seriously pursued if we are to make Egypt a place for all Egyptians.