House grants preliminary approval to Labor Unions Act
House preliminarily gives initial approval to Labor Unions Act after heated debate: The House of Representatives’ general assembly granted an initial nod yesterday to the Labor Unions Act following heated debate, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The House decided to postpone full debate of the law to a later date after MPs disagreed over some of its clauses, according to the newspaper. MP Mohamed Elsewedy called for stronger oversight on financing, insisting that all forms of funding (including grants and donations) should be subject to board approval. House speaker Ali Abdel Aal, on the other hand, said that enforcing additional oversight would constitute interference in the internal affairs of unions, pointing out that foreign funding is prohibited by the bill, making further restrictions unnecessary. Other MPs also objected to a stipulation that the unions’ elections would be held within 90 days of the law’s issuance, which they said is not enough time to properly prepare, and would also result in a scheduling conflict with next year’s presidential elections.
The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) is not too pleased with the bill either, claiming it violates global principles on union freedoms and leaves practically no room for independent unions to grow and develop. The group called on the government to implement amendments to the law that would create more of a divide between them and the administration of labor unions, Al Mal says.