Continuing Violations of Workers’ Rights in Egypt

In its latest report to the World Trade Organisation’s periodic Trade Policy Review, the International Trade Union Confederation condemns vicious violations of the right to organise and freedom of association in Egypt.

“This reports points out serious shortcomings in law and in practice with regards to the right to organise, collective bargaining and strike,” said Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the ITUC. “While the uprising of the Egyptian people paved the way for the creation of independent trade unions, there remains a long way to go,” Burrow added.

On March 24, 2011 the government introduced Law 34/2011 banning strikes and demonstrations that hinder production, hence depriving working people of an essential means to achieve economic and social justice and a fundamental right under international law.

The law does not adequately protect women, disabled persons, homosexuals and persons who live with HIV/AIDS from all forms of discrimination and does not require equality in remuneration between men and women. Women’s participation in the labour market is low, and women face a considerable pay gap.

The Labour Code does not apply to children working in agriculture, domestic servitude and family-owned enterprises and, hence, severe violations of children’s rights and child exploitation are “lawfully” tolerated. There are many reports showing that forced labour is a serious problem in Egypt.

The full ITUC report can be found here