In June 2016, 26 civilian workers from the Alexandria Shipyard Company were referred to the Alexandria Military Court after they staged a peaceful protest demanding the implementation of the minimum wage, and health and safety conditions at work.
SOLIDAR joins the call of the Center for Trade Union and Workers Services (CTUWS) and their demands to stop the trial of shipyard workers in Case No. 2759 for the year 2016 at the military court in Alexandria and calls for the immediate release of the imprisoned workers remanded in custody while the case is pending. CTUWS also stresses the inadmissibility of military trials for civilian workers and the inadmissibility and unlawfulness of referring them to military courts while they exercise their right to strike or peaceful assembly.
You can read the report of the CTUWS about the Workers Case No. 2759 that appeared on 11th July 2016 here.
Workers were referred to the Military Court under accusations of committing crimes according to article 124 of the Penal Code. However this referral is in contradiction with the 2014 Constitution and the international human rights obligations stemming from the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), as well as the ILO Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (No. 87), that Egypt has ratified.
Despite ever-increasing violations by Egypt of its constitutional and international commitments to human rights, including article 2 of the EU-Egypt Association Agreement, relations have moved towards normalisation. The Association Committee was held on May 23 in Cairo, and negotiations on the EU-Egypt Partnership Priorities in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) are ongoing.
In this context, SOLIDAR calls the European Institutions to:
Urge the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release prisoners of conscience, detained and sentenced solely for exercising their rights to freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly in Egypt, including human rights defenders, journalists and media workers, trade union leaders and labour rights activists;
Urge the Egyptian authorities to respect the right to strike, and ensure the effective implementation of relevant constitutional provisions (in particular, art. 15, 75 and 76 of 2014 Constitution), and the legal obligations enshrined in the core ILO conventions no. 87 and 98;
Call on the government of Egypt to repeal the Ministerial Periodical Decree no. 6 of March 2016, and all legal provisions and administrative procedures linked to this decree; and to adopt a new Trade Union Law in accordance with International Labour Standards;
You can read more SOLIDAR ‘ENP up close’ newsletters here.