Negotiations for a deeper EU-Egypt trade deal “should include violations of trade union rights”

July 13th 2019

In the context of the new negotiations with Egypt for the conclusion of a deeper trade agreement, Solidar calls on the European Union (EU) to take into account the recommendations of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and to include them as a prerequisite for signing the agreement. "The negotiation process provides an important opportunity to urge the Egyptian government to comply with the ILO recommendations," says Solidar, which considers that freedom of association is at the heart of all economic and social rights and that the trade negotiation process should enable the Egyptian government to improve the worrying situation of Egyptian workers. (Solidar's comprehensive statement in English).

As a reminder, Egypt has been in the sights of the ILO for three years because of the violation of the Basic Convention (No. 87) on freedom of association and protection of the right to organize. Despite a fact-finding mission sent by the ILO to Egypt in 2018, Egypt was again pinned last June at the International Labor Conference in Geneva for serious violations of trade union rights (among a list from 24 countries including Algeria). The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has once again pinned Egypt, like Algeria, in its annual report last June, describing the North Africa and Middle East region as "worse region of the world for violations of trade union rights ".

Rahma Refat, a labor lawyer and project manager at the Independent Center for Trade Union and Workers' Services (CTUWS) in Egypt, detailed on June 14 in Geneva the serious problems posed by the trade union law (n ° 213) of 2017 and the oppressive practices that accompany its application (see her statement and interview published by the international trade union movement).

On July 3rd, Amnesty International released a brief overview of Egypt's disastrous human rights record since President A.F. al Sisi came to power. This document, which covers, in particular, the human rights violations related to trade union rights, has been submitted to the UN Human Rights Council with a view to the balance's forthcoming periodic review.