Community dialogues over labour bill start on Monday

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Community dialogues over the labour law will start next Monday for hearing different views of concerned bodies, according to Mohamed Wahballah, deputy of the parliament’s Labour Force Committee, on Tuesday.

The Labour Force Committee in parliament concluded reviewing and discussing the labour bill, which includes 265 articles, in twenty-seven sessions. Dialogue will continue for four sessions.

The law was drafted by the Egyptian Workers Union, the Federation of Egyptian Industries, and the Ministry of Labour, and was approved by the cabinet and State Council.

During the community dialogue sessions, representatives from industries, the Egyptian Workers Union, the National Council for Women, the National Council for Childhood & Motherhood, labour unions, and businesspeople took part.

Some of the aforementioned entities do not recognise independent labour unions, which raises questions on whether independent unions will attend the dialogues or not.

Previously in April, the Centre for Trade Unions and Workers Services, held a press conference attended by members of independent labour unions, in which they made some comments about the law.

All the members attending the conference agreed on their right on viewing the draft law and being invited for dialogue sessions. They further asserted that the law was only focusing on rights of employers and not protecting workers, according to a conference statement published on CTUWS.

The members also pointed to other comments in the law that include points regarding work contracts and hiring processes.

Mohamed Al-Gaml, the head of the Federation of Chemical and Petrochemical Workers in Suez, stated during the conference that the law grants employers the right to formulate the duration of the work end in contracts based on their decisions.

Meanwhile, the head of the Union of Workers in Spinning, Weaving, Ready-Made Garments, and Leather in Port Said, noted that the law includes articles that criminalise strikes and promotes arbitrary dismissal.

However, Wahballah said that the bill is balanced and compatible with international labour standards and the rights of the workers.

Regarding community dialogues, he also clarified that parliament is to arrange for community dialogue with all concerned sides in the issue, in order to produce a complete consensus between all sectors of Egyptian society, and will not exclude any concerned sides from the scheduled dialogues.

In case any controversy occurs regarding any article of the law, a general session in parliament will be held for discussion, and if not, the law will be passed to the presidency for review and a final decision, Wahballah said.

Concerning new amendments in the law, he said there have been articles added related to obliging the ministry to notify the concerned bodies to be committed to the law, as well as articles stipulating handing workers documents of their employment.

There is also a recommendation that if the law is finally approved, it should determine minimum wages for workers working under it.

Laws related to labour issues, such as the Civil Service Law and Social Bonus Law, were approved to be applied to over 6,000,000 workers working in governmental institutions, despite concerns from different sides.

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