The judiciary rules for the Vice President of the Tourism and Hotels Union, overturning the unlawful decision to suspend her from work
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The judiciary rules for the Vice President of the Tourism and Hotels Union, overturning the unlawful decision to suspend her from work

On December 28, 2023, North Cairo Court of First Instance, Circuit No.29 ruled in Case No. 1034 of 2023 filed by Faten Abdullah El-Sanawi against the legal representative of the General Union of Tourism and Hotel Workers, and its president. The ruling entails overturning the decision to suspend the plaintiff from union activity as the Deputy Head of the General Union of Tourism and Hotels and a member of the union’s board of directors. Moreover, the defendant is obligated to pay a compensation of 10,000 Egyptian pounds for the material and moral damages suffered by the plaintiff.

The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) acted as a representative for the plaintiff, filing a lawsuit before North Cairo Court of First Instance, Circuit No.29 to annul the decision of the General Union of Tourism and Hotel Workers to suspend her from union activities. This action was taken after she was unexpectedly barred from attending the union’s board of directors meeting without reasons or justifications, prompting her to request an investigation into the incident.

The General Union dismissed the request for an investigation, prompting the plaintiff to lodge a complaint with the Ministry of Labor against the Union’s stance. The Ministry responded by citing the Union’s Decision No.(1) of 2022, issued on November 13, 2022, suspending her based on an alleged violation of the ethical charter for trade union work.

The plaintiff turned to the Egyptian Center to appeal the decision on suspending her from Union’s activities. Her representative argued that the decision to suspend was not in line with legal or factual grounds, as the law requires a suspension decision for a board member of the trade union organization to be issued by a two-thirds majority of the board. Additionally, it mandates that the board must verify the violation attributed to the member before issuing the suspension.

In addition, law requires a decision to be made about the member who has been suspended within 60 days from the date of notifying them of the charges or from the date of suspension itself.

The law further mandates that the council present the order to suspend a board member at the first general assembly to decide whether to annul the suspension, dismiss the member based on the suspension decision, or withdraw confidence from them. The council is obligated to present the case of the suspended council member to the relevant labor union’s first general assembly in its inaugural meeting.

During the proceedings, the court issued a preliminary judgment to refer the lawsuit for interrogation to question the defendant about the provisions of the ethical charter violated by the plaintiff and the legal procedures taken before issuing the decision to suspend her from trade union activities.

The defendant submitted folders of documents, including registered notifications indicating the plaintiff’s notification of the suspension decision and referral for investigation, sent to the address of Meridian Pyramids Hotel and the plaintiff’s residence. The defendant also argued that the lawsuit should not be accepted as it was filed out of time, stating that the suspension decision was issued on November 13, 2022, and the lawsuit was filed on February 26, 2023. The law stipulates that appeals against the decision must be made within 30 days of notification.

The plaintiff’s defense presented folders containing certificates from the General Postal Authority stating that they did not receive any of the notifications sent by the defendant. Additionally, certificates from members of the union’s board of directors and members of the general assembly were provided, indicating their request to include the suspension decision on the agenda of the general assembly held on December 7, 2022. However, the defendant refused to include the suspension decision in the general assembly’s agenda, contrary to the law.

Moreover, the plaintiff’s defense submitted a memorandum refuting all the photographic evidence presented by the defendant. It included a response to the rejection of the lawsuit, arguing that the plaintiff was not notified of the decision by a certified letter with acknowledgment of receipt as required by law. Additionally, the defense considered the plaintiff’s unequivocal knowledge to be on February 20, 2023, the date of the Ministry of Labor’s response to the plaintiff’s complaint regarding her exclusion from attending the board of directors’ meetings. The response contained the date and reference number of the suspension decision, confirmed by the court through the official document provided by the ministry. Based on this, the court issued its advance judgment.

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