ILO lifts Egypt from its union freedom blacklist
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By RANY MOSTAFA

CAIRO: Egypt has been taken off the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) blacklist, according to Mohamed Wahb Allah, Secretary-General of the Egyptian Labor Union, who presides over Egypt’s delegation to the ILO’s International Labor Conference from May 28 to June 12.

Wahb Allah said he met with several ILO officials and they agreed to lift Egypt from the blacklist of countries with the worst labor conditions and violations on the international agreements on labor freedoms, Al-Bawabh news reported Friday.

“The lift came after promises from the Egyptian delegation that the Egyptian government will issue the Syndicate Freedom Law (SFL), scheduled to be ratified by Egypt’s upcoming parliament,” Wahb Allah said.

He added that the ILO holds an annual conference to follow up on the compliance of blacklisted countries with the international standards of the freedom of syndicates and independent unions.

In recent years, Egypt has been frequently placed on the ILO’s blacklist due to its governments’ violations of international agreements on labor freedoms, intervention in trade union affairs and for failing to meet international standards on independent syndicates.

In 2011, Egypt was removed from the ILO blacklist after officials announced they would open up the country’s laws on freedom of association and allow workers and employers to establish and join organizations of their own choosing without having to seek previous authorization.

According to the ILO’s regulations, these organizations should be freely organized and cannot be dissolved or suspended by any administrative order.

Since the commitments were not fulfilled due to Egypt’s turmoil and political instability, the country was returned to the ILO blacklist in June 2013.

Egypt’s delegation to the ILO international conference is comprised of representatives from the Federation of Egyptian Industry, the Ministry of Manpower and the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF).

ETUF Chairman Gebali Al-Maraghy told Al-Bawabh news Friday that an ILO delegation is expected to visit Cairo within a few days to meet Egypt’s president-elect Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, along with the ministers of finance, manpower, and foreign affairs.

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