According to the ITUC Global Rights Index 2018 launched last week at the ILO Conference in Geneva, Algeria and Egypt are among the top ten worst countries for workers.
In general, the report highlights that “the Middle East and North Africa was again the worst region for treatment of workers, with the kafala system in the Gulf still enslaving millions of people. The absolute denial of basic workers’ rights remained in place in Saudi Arabia. Conflict in Libya, Palestine, Syria and Yemen has led to the breakdown of the rule of law and the denial of the right to find a decent job. Peaceful protests were violently repressed and attempts at forming an independent labour movement were systematically crushed by the authorities in Algeria and Egypt”.
Our partner from Egypt, the Center for Trade Unions and Workers Services (CTUWS), was present at the launch of the report, during which it could attest to the recent violations that took place against independent trade unions, a situation that has been worsening with the adoption of the new trade union law last December. The CTUWS recently published a short documentary about it, available here.
This year, Algeria was blacklisted and discussed at the Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS) at the ILO Conference. Although the EU acknowledged the difficulty independent trade unions face to organize, meet and register in their recent report on the state of play of the EU-Algeria relations, the EU stayed silent during the discussion of the case of Algeria. However, the conclusions of the CAS are clear: restrictions against trade unions’ right to form an organization are persistent and the committee called upon the Government of Algeria, without delay, to ensure that the registration of trade unions in law and in practice conforms with Convention No. 87.
SOLIDAR believes that independent and representative workers’ organizations are the backbone of wealthy democracies and indispensable to promote and achieve social justice. The EU should keep these findings in mind in its relations with the countries in the region.