Egypt’s House of Representatives discusses Draft law on Syndicates EOHR calls upon parliament to take civil society recommendations into consideration

November 14th, 2017 by Editor

Egypt’s House of Representatives discusses Draft law on Syndicates

EOHR calls upon parliament to take civil society recommendations into consideration

Egypt’s House of Representatives is currently discussing drafting a new law for Syndicates and Unions to replace the current legistlation which has been enforced for over 41 years. EOHR always considered the current Syndicate law below international standards set by international human rights treaties and conventions. 

The current law puts syndicates and their freedoms under state patronage which basically impedes workers rights to establish independent labour unions. This contradicts international human rights treaties, partiularly the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, and it also collides with the principles of Egypt’s constitution.

EOHR believes that ammending the law or changing it is a much needed step however EOHR maintains that those ammendments should be in concert and agreement with international human rights law. The new draft law being discussed at the moment in parliament has come short of meeting just that and has been subject to criticism from forces of civil society.

The law discriminates against independent syndicates and state sponsored ones. Independent unions do not get official recognition or legal character automatically, and they have to go through a lengthy process to achieve that with government consent, while other types of unions obtain the same recognition rather easily.

The law prohibits the establishment of more than one syndicate at the same establishment, which is in clear violation of the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention as it could basically deny syndicates not under the umbrella of the General Union of Syndicates the right to exist and function.

Denying workers in establishments with less than 50 employees to form a union excludes a sizable portion of the labour force from the equation, and deny them rights stipulated by international law.

The prereuisite membership of 20,000 workers for a general syndicate, and 200,000 members for a general union seem to aim to incapacitate worker’s rights to associate and organize.

EOHR sees that this law violates the rights of workers to form unions and syndicates, which is a basic rights stipulated by international human rights law, and protected by the Egyptian constitution. EOHR urges the government to open channels of dialogue with Egyptian civil society at large and take their recommendations into account with regrads to drafting the new law.

Dr. Hafez Abu Seada president of EOHR stressed that freedom of association is guranteed by the constitution and by interational human rights law, adding that the draft law should meet their standards.

Abu Seada also declared his total solidarity with syndicates and unions opposed to this draft law, and called upon all forces of civil society to take an active role and take action against this law, because of the potential ramifications it has on Egypt Economy, and to form a united front to present the interests of civil society in that context to parliament.

 

 

 

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