Today Saturday 4 November 2017, representatives of CTUWS and The campaign to defend Trade Union Freedoms attended the second session of hearing organized by the labor force committee at the Parliament about the draft law for trade unions and the right of organizing.
Members of this delegation exposed their point of view regarding the draft law proposed by the government and the amendments introduced by the labor force committee, clarifying their main objections and presenting alternative proposals; the points discussed were specifically that:
Under these circumstances, the current law that imposes a single model regulating trade unions and affiliated to the government with no specific boundaries between the two, is no longer operational. In addition, a situation lacking the mechanisms of collective negotiations that generate a balance between conflicting interests, cannot create social stability. It is impossible to postpone one more time the deservedly right to freedom of organizing, not only to comply with articles 76 and 93 of the Constitution, basic labor standards and our international commitments ratified by the Egyptian government, but also because the workers have a pressing need for organizations accurately representing them, advocating for their rights and negotiating in their name in order to avoid the state of congestion extending to the various settings and fields in this arena.
Discrimination and absence of equality in this article could result in the non-constitutionality of its provisions besides generating quite dangerous consequences when we compare it to article 12 of the draft mentioning the right of fifty workers or more in an institution to create its own trade union committee: the amendment introduced by exchanging the term “a trade union committee” by “its own trade union committee” might be interpreted as a ban from establishing more than one committee, especially in light of the recent declarations by some members of the Parliament labor force committee.
While such potential ban represents an evident contravention in its own capacity with the provisions of Convention 87, it also practically means the prevention from creating any other trade union in an institution that includes a trade union affiliated to the ETUF which keeps automatically its virtual status, i.e. a trade union preceding the existence of anyone else.
Once again, we find ourselves in front of a pyramidal structure composed of three levels while the rich reality full of various initiatives should not presuppose that trade union committees of institutions have necessarily to be placed under a general union, or general unions under a general federation. The proposed structure ignores also sectoral and regional federations that have effectively been formed during the past years, some of which deserving full respect and consideration.
Moreover, the article failed – intentionally or not – from mentioning pensioners or retired persons while we witness an inspiring experience proposed by the Pensioners Union considered as one of the most prominent organization that succeeded during the past years to truly represent retired people, and express their interests and requests through a series of significant round of negotiations.
CTUWS and The campaign to defend Trade Union Freedoms took the initiative of participating in the session organized this morning and granted all the attention it deserves and required by a draft law concerned with the right of Egyptian workers to establish their unions. Such law will have an important impact on the status of workers, working relations, mechanisms of collective negotiations, and the social stability as a whole.
Despite our reservation about the period of hearing sessions limited to two days only, as well as its timing during the weekend that probably prevented some stakeholders from participating and expressing their points of view, both CTUWS and the Campaign hope that this session will not remain a mere décor to embellish the proposed law and aspire that the objections formulated during the meeting will be taken seriously in account.
Together towards a law securing trade union freedom and the right of Egyptian workers to organize freely.
The campaign to defend Trade Union Freedoms
Saturday November 4, 2017.