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Unions | Draft for Trade Union Organization & Protection of Right of Association Bill

Brief on Bill

Introduction:

The bill works within the rights and freedoms of trade-union organizations decreed by the Constitutional Declaration of 7th July 2013 or international conventions (Article 1). The bill calls for revising similar laws that were devised previously to be more specific as to deal only with state-led trade unions, or the Egyptian Trade-Union Federation (ETUF), and so emphasizing the new freedoms granted for independent unionization (Article 2). Current trade-unions may continue their activities if they can apply for formal recognition or authorization within the next six months, otherwise the organization is considered illegal and all its assets are confiscated and transferred to workers’ emergency fund (Article 3). Minister of Manpower and Emigration is responsible for issuing the executive measures and procedures for putting the law into action and creating a standard framework for its implementation (Article 5). In case a worker transfers from a union to another, this does not deprive him/her from guaranteed rights or benefits they possess (Article 6).

Section I

Chapter 1: General Definitions

This chapter covers general definitions of terms, like wage labor, artisan, independent labor, institution/facility, business owner, trade-union (can be at the professional, craftsmanship or geographical level), federation, organization, labor representative, union activity and administrative body [Ministry of Manpower and Emigration] (Article 1).

Chapter 2: Provisions

This chapter covers general provisions related to the law. The law encompasses all types of labor (government employees, public firms, private sector, etc.) (Article 2). Also, it annuls all previous legislation that do not fall under the new provisions, as not to curtail union rights (Article 3). All rights of creating, joining or withdrawing from labor organizations are granted to all workers unequivocally, yet a worker cannot be member of two organizations simultaneously (Article 4). All organizations based on religion, race or political parties, or practice discriminatory behavior, are to be prohibited. Dissolution may only take place when decided by general assembly of organization members or court orders (Articles 5 and 6). Minimum memberships for creation of unions, federations or national federations are defined (Article 7).

Section II

Chapter 1: Union Establishment

A list of required legal documents for the authorization of unions (or federations) is set, with formal requests and identification of founding members (Article 8). Legalization is validated by notification and submission of required documents to administrative body (Ministry of Manpower), which in turn must review the request and hand in stamped documents to legal representative, which confirm the authorization and address banks and firms (Article 9).

Chapter 2: Bylaws

Bylaws are set by trade-union founders, which define its title, headquarters, objectives, organizational structure, administrative bodies, financial and administrative monitoring and accountability regulations, regulations for amendment of bylaws, and decision-making for dissolution or mergers (Article 11). Also main framework and procedures for the election of Board of Directors by the general assembly is explained; 5 members are elected freely for a period 4 years, and the conditions for eligibility are listed as well (Article 12). In case the general assembly decides to amend the bylaws, the legal representative must present a document notifying the Ministry of Manpower of such changes (Article 13).

Chapter 3: Financial monitoring

There is a list of legal sources of financing, such as membership fees, revenues from activities, or aids, rewards and donations (except that those cannot come from foreign sources), etc. (Article 14). The union can establish a savings fund, a fellowship fund or a strikes fund, or can create cooperatives, sports clubs, or other activities for its workers (Article 15). General Assembly must elect a body for financial monitoring (3 members) and only the assembly has the authority to discharge members, while the body can call for special assembly when it suspects financial violations (Article 16). Money assets must be deposited in banks or savings funds, or can be invested if permitted by the bylaws (Article 17).

Section III

Union rights and liabilities

Trade unions have rights of taking legal action to protect and defend its members’ interests, and can legally intervene in lawsuits (Article 18). Role of union representation within negotiations, agreements, or social discussions on bills, etc. is appropriated according to size of membership, while the representative team is selected by the labor organization itself (Article 19). General Assembly is composed of subscribed members (Article 20), with the role of the assembly re-iterated in the following article. General Assembly has the decision-making power of the dissolution of organization, and the management of its assets (Article 22). BOP members must attend to the management of the organization, devoting part or full-time, and they are entitled to salaries and rewards equivalent to those earned by their fellow colleagues within the same pay band (Article 23).

There is a comprehensive lists of goals required from the organizations, such as protection and defending of workers, improvement of working conditions and physical welfare, raising cultural and educational awareness of workers, increasing productivity and skill, participation in bills and public discussions, organizing events and conventions, building centers and forming collaborations with Arabic, African or International organizations, while hosting conferences and conventions for such unions (Article 24).

Business owners or firm managers are prohibited from obstruction of union activity, so they are legally required to convene with workers, agree to union elections being carried out, and making information available for negotiations and agreements (Article 25). They are also prohibited from carrying out penalties against union activity, such as dismissal, wage discrimination, coercion or offering benefits to pressure workers (Article 27). In addition, BOP members or representatives are protected from dismissal except by court orders, and so no such disciplining measure should be taken by firm (Article 29).

Section IV

Defines several legal exemptions and benefits for union organizations, such as taxes (residential, sales, tariffs, etc) or court charges and stamp duties (Articles 31 and 32). Section V outlines the necessary sanctions to be effected in case of violations (Articles 33 to 38).