Egypt’s New Labor Unions Law
A new labor union organizations law was issued last December under Law No. 213/2017 (the “Law”) replacing previous labor union organizations law No. 35/1976. The Law explicitly provides for the prohibition of establishing labor unions based on religious or political grounds or incorporating discriminative rules in the articles of association of such organizations.
In general, the Law maintains the three levels of labor organizations with the same hierarchal competencies; on the top of the hierarchy lies the unions federation, then the general labor unions comes and finally is the union committees inside the establishments.
In a significant change, the Law tightened the conditions of establishing a labor organization through requiring a higher number of workers to join the labor organization as members according to the following:
- (a) A Union Committee inside a company/establishment can only be formed with a minimum of 150 workers/members, whereas the previous law required only 50 worker/members.
- (b) A General Labor Union can only be established with a number of not less than 15 union committees representing – at least- 20,000 workers/members, while the canceled law did not require such a condition.
- (c) A Labor Union Federation can be established with a number of not less than 10 General Labor Unions representing – at least – 200,000 workers/members.
The executive regulation of the Law shall ascertain the conditions and procedures required for existing Labor Organizations to comply with the Law. Such compliance shall take place within 60 days (maximum) from the date of issuing the executive regulation.
Existing Labor Organizations which will not be able to satisfy the above membership threshold will be dissolved.
Notwithstanding the above restriction concerning the formation of a Labor Organizations, the Law introduces a number of provisions which can be seen as steps forward towards the liberalization of Labor Organizations in Egypt. Among these provisions the following:
The Law gives Union Organizations the authority to set its own articles of association, adopt its internal administrative and financial regulations, freely elect its representatives and to organize its affairs independently from the public authorities. In the past – under the cancelled law- the Labor Union Federation used to have the upper hand on all such matters.
The Law allows Union Committees to handle (collective and individual) disputes relating to its members and to sign on collective bargaining agreements (“CBAs”). Under the cancelled law, signing CBAs required signatures of the representatives of the general labor union.
- If the number of the members of the board of directors in any Union Organization became less than half (for any reason), the general assembly of said organization shall be invited within fifteen days – at most- to conduct supplementary elections. According to the cancelled law, the composition of the board of directors – in this case- shall be deemed invalid and the board of directors of the higher Union Organization shall be responsible for the responsibilities of the invalidated board of directors until the composition of a new board of directors.
If you would like to know more about this law and how it will impact your organization, please feel free to contact us.