Egypt : Labor union elections are back, but with few promises | MadaMasr
Labor union representatives voiced their concerns over political exclusion from union elections, which kicked off on May 23 and concluded this week.
After being postponed for 12 years, labour union elections for the period 2018-2022 were finally held under a new law passed in 2017, ending, at least on paper, 61 years of monopoly by the state-affiliated Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF), and allowing for the formal creation of independent unions.
Members and leaders of independent unions, however, cite many obstacles to free and fair elections, among them the law itself governing the work of labor unions. “It was the worst labor elections Egypt has witnessed,” says Kamal Abbas, head of the Center for Trade Unions and Workers Services (CTUWS), which organized a press conference on June 3 to raise election violations.
One of the violations highlighted pertains to the ability of independent unions to regulate their legal status. While some independent unions have existed, predating the law for years, all of them now have to adhere to executive regulations in order to be recognized and ensure their members are eligible for elections.
CTUWS described the process of standardizing independent unions as “intransigent and bureaucratic practices from Ministry of Manpower directorates to prevent a right backed by law,” in a report titled, “Union freedoms — Between limited leeway and purposeful restrictions.”