Egypt is one of the 10 worst countries in the world for working people

No guarantee of rights (?)

Country score is the same as last year.

2024 has seen an increase in interference by the authorities in trade union affairs, including through the imposition of complex regulations on elections, membership requirements, statutes, and internal procedures. Union accounts were subjected to the vexatious scrutiny of a central accounting body with extensive powers to interfere in trade union finances.

Employers exacerbated this hostile environment, resorting to disciplinary sanctions and dismissals to punish striking workers and weaken unions.

Obstacles to union re-registration

Since the dissolution of all independent unions in 2018, workers and their representatives have sought the re-registration of their unions. However, the authorities have imposed excessive and absurd registration requirements, such as the need to obtain the employer’s approval and stamp. As of March 2024, at least 14 independent trade unions still awaited official recognition and another 11 were impeded by the authorities from holding their elections, leaving workers without representation and depriving them of their right to collective bargaining. It is estimated that, since 2018, the number of independent trade unions in Egypt has decreased from 1,500 to only about 150.

Credit: ITUC

In Egypt, the number of independent trade unions has dropped to 150 from 1,500 in 2018 when they were dissolved by the authorities. Attempts by trade unions to be re-registered have been systematically obstructed by the authorities, leaving Egyptian workers without representation.

State crackdown on civil liberties

At least 11 unionists were arbitrarily imprisoned for attempting to exercise their basic freedoms, including the right to strike. Article 194 of the Labour Law explicitly prohibited strikes in strategic or critical institutions. In practice, the authorities were seen to adopt a very broad interpretation of the definition of “essential services” and “national security” to curb collective action. Workers arrested for exercising their basic, internationally accepted rights were liable to heavy sentencing, including forced labour in prisons.