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Egypt outlaws workers’ right to strike

A court ruling in Egypt has criminalized the right to strike, which not only violates the Egyptian Constitution, but also the UN’s International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural rights.
Textile workers stage a strike over pay at Ghazl el-Mahalla factory in Mahalla city, 130km north of Cairo, September 23, 2007.  REUTERS/ Stringer (EGYPT) - RTR1U6E7
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CAIRO, Egypt — The ruling issued April 28 by the Supreme Administrative Court headed by Judge Labib Halim to criminalize strikes and penalize striking public workers by forcing them into retirement caused an uproar in legal circles and provoked the anger of those interested in labor and human rights. Labor and human rights activists considered the decision to be a violation of Egypt’s commitment to the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1967; in October 1981, Egypt signed the convention, which allows for the right to strike. Moreover, the ruling violates the Egyptian Constitution of 2014, which granted the right to peaceful strikes.

The Supreme Administrative Court decision forces three officials in the local unit in Qarous, in al-Monufia governorate, into retirement. It also postponed the promotion of 14 others for a period of two years, after investigations carried out by the administrative prosecution showed that they went on strike and disrupted the facility’s ability to fulfill the interest of citizens. The three officials had participated in the strike and locked the door to the unit, barring the head of the unit from entering. The local unit handles the establishment and management of all public facilities in its constituency.

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