Egypt’s step forward: a trade union registration grievance mechanism

10 Mar 2021

SLARIE and its partners made their first step forward as the Manpower Ministry established in November a mechanism for grievances to ease trade union registrations.

Since the electoral process in 2018, trade union representatives said they had faced difficulties with the appropriate offices in a few directorates while depositing their registration papers, eventually being unable to obtain a certified copy of the filing records and other official letters.

Such bottlenecks have led a number of trade union organizations across the country to see their status as “suspended”. Dual trade union membership, regulatory models, the establishment of multiple unions within one sector or companies were among the issues local union groups also defined as being unclear.

The creation of a national mechanism with the task of receiving trade union complaints related to these matters of contention and fix them represents a crucial step for the harmonization of relations among the tripartite constituents.

“All parties welcomed this move,” said Marwa Salah, SLARIE National Coordinator. “At the second tripartite meeting in November, the Manpower Ministry (MOM) said they would activate this mechanism at once and they did. They swiftly drafted and issued a ministerial decree, setting up this committee.”

Meanwhile, nine meetings with pending trade union registration cases have happened. MOM extended its invitation to 47 pending cases, of which 35 attended the meeting.

As a result, 22 cases were settled and obtained their registration. ILO/SLAIRIE and MOM have also compiled a list of 77 trade unions with a “suspended” status for imminent follow-ups on their registration.

Ongoing conversations between ILO/SLARIE and its local partners have also highlighted a stringent need for training courses aimed at developing and honing their competencies.

All parties have welcomed a new proposal for the development of a procedural guide, shedding light on the legal conditions regulating trade union registration.

“These SOPs will focus on the steps, documents and procedures accompanying the trade union registration in order to make the process more simple and transparent,” says Salah. “It will also include legal explanations to help remove all possible ambiguities concerning the conditions regulating trade union registrations, while also stressing each party’s responsibility in the process.”

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