Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Working for Labor Union Freedoms & Democratic Rights in Egypt

A host of Egyptian unionists, workers, labor lawyers, and political activists have recently convened meetings at the (independent) Hisham Mubarak Legal Center to discuss the formulation of a draft trade union law - by which to amend or replace the existing Trade Union Law #35/1976. Law # 35 blatantly imposes state intervention in trade union affairs and does not allow for the existence of any independent union organization outside the strict confines of the state-controlled Egyptian Trade Union Federation (the sole union organization allowed for by law.)

The first two meetings (October 13 & 28) were attended by representatives from seven opposition parties and groupings, along with members of fourteen (independent & opposition) NGOs and movements. A committee was chosen from amongst these participants (on the 28th) to begin formulating draft amendments. This committee is due to issue its preliminary report by December 1 at the latest.

In their efforts these participants are seeking the support of parliamentarians, professional syndicates, workers, trade union committees, NGOs, the (state-appointed) Supreme Council for Human Rights, the media/press, the International Labor Organization, and the Arab Labor Organization, amongst others. In any case the People's Assembly (parliament) is dominated by businessmen from the ruling National Democratic Party, and thus the proposed provisions of this draft law are very likely to be distorted and diluted during parliamentary discussions. Nonetheless, these efforts are an important step forwards along the path towards the liberation of Egypt's trade unions.

The next meeting at the Hisham Mubarak Legal Center (regarding this effort) is scheduled for Monday November 10 - at 6pm.

1 comment:

Jano Charbel said...

CORRECTION - the last meeting at the Hisham Mubarak Center took place on the October 27 NOT Oct. 28