The Egyptian government has approved amendments to the law that regulates trade unions days before the International Labour Organisation is due to hold its conference.
By amending the law, Egypt seeks to avoid being put on the ILO’s blacklist, according to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news site.
The list includes 40 countries which are accused of violating international labour standards.
The new amendments allow all workers to form labour committees with no less than 50 members. They also allow workers in organisations with less than 50 staff members to form a labour committee. They will be allowed to join forces with workers in other professions or crafts.
The amendments also allow for the formation of a general trade union with at least ten committees, each with at least 15,000 members.
As it stands, the existing law is considered to violate international standards of organised labour rights. The International Federation of Trade Unions accuses Egypt of suppressing labour protests and detaining activists, in addition to mistreating migrant workers.
The International Labour Organisation is a United Nations agency whose mandate is to advance social justice and promote decent work by setting international labour standards. Its Committee on Freedom of Association is due to meet on 6-7 June.