05 December 2021 01:08 PM

Labour Day

Tuesday، 01 May 2018 - 11:46 AM

Many countries in the world celebrate the Labour Day in the first of May, and in some countries it is a public holiday as in Egypt.

Labour Day dates back to 1869, when workers in the Philadelphia garment industry in America, along with some shoe workers, furniture and miners, formed the Knights of Labor organization as a trade union organization struggling to improve wages and reduce working hours.

The first of May 1886 came to witness the largest number of strikes in one day in the history of America, to reach  five thousand strikes with 340 thousand workers calling for 8hour working day . "In Chicago, workers celebrated and demonstrated on May 1 to reduce their working hours. Their slogan was" eight hours of work - eight hours of rest - eight hours of sleep ".

In Europe, the preparatory conference  of the Second Socialist Union called for simultaneous demonstrations in European cities on 1 May 1890 to demand a law limiting working hours to eight hours.

Also, in July 1881 ,  the Marxist Left wing in Paris on the occasion of the centenary of the French Revolution  called for international workers demonstrations for the law of eight hours, and since the American Labor Federation had already decided to organize similar demonstrations in May 1, 1890 The same day was chosen to demonstrate in Europe, but what happened in May 1890 exceeded all expectations. One of the reasons for this was political timing. This political moment coincided with important victories of the labor movement and great progress in the consciousness and confidence of European working classes .

In Britain there was a new wave of trade unions following the huge strike of port workers in 1889 .

In Egypt ,as well, there was an independent labor legacy to celebrate the workers' day, which began in 1924, when the workers of Alexandria held a big celebration at the General Federation of Trade Unions and then marched in a huge demonstration until they reached the cinema of Barrette where a conference was held.

Despite the prohibition of the first Egyptian Communist Party ,the policies of the bourgeois governments and the attempts to prevent marches and conferences on the first of May, the Egyptian trade union movement was celebrating the occasion and organizing marches and conferences.

The 1930s and 1940s witnessed difficulties and repression, but with President Gamal Abdel Nasser having power over Egypt and the progressive nationalization of the labor movement, the occasion took an official form and in 1964, the first of May became an official holiday and the President of the Republic delivered a political speech to the leaders of these unions.

History of the Egyptian Labour Movement

The Egyptian labor movement dates back to the abyss of history since the Nile Valley civilization that  sanctified the work and the honor of the workers. The ancient Egyptians would not have  had such achievements in the fields of architecture, engineering, agriculture, industry, mining, painting and sculpture unless their movement is based on a strict and precise organization and fair principles governing the relations between the various social forces.

The ancient Egyptian community introduced the weekly holiday system, laborers’ rights on the basis of social solidarity far from contradiction and conflict, and defined the system of cities and laborers gatherings, as three labor cities were built about five thousand years ago.

In 1959, the trade unions of enterprises were abolished and the general union system at the industrial level was adopted. This system determines the classification of industries and economic activities for which workers can form a general union, is to 23 public unions, headed by the General Union of Egyptian Trade Unions. In accordance with the law regulating trade unions in Egypt - No. 35 of 1976 - amended by Law No. 1 of 1981, and Law No. 12 of 1995.

Egyptian  General Trade Union

The General  Trade Union leads the Egyptian trade union movement, andl formulates its general policies to  achieve its objectives internally and externally, and in particular the following:-

1- Defending the rights of Egyptian workers, their common interests, and raising  their standard economically, socially and culturally.

2- Participating in the discussions of economic and social development plans.

3- To express opinions on the draft laws, regulations and decisions concerning the organization of labor and laborers’ affairs

4-Coordinating between the general syndicates and assisting them in achieving their objectives

5. Laying out the ethical code of conduct of trade union within the framework of prevailing principles and values.

6- Establishing and managing the cultural, scientific, social, cooperative, health workers' institutions

7. Participating in the Arab, African and international labor fields and affirming the role of the Egyptian trade union movement .

Structure of the Federation of Egyptian Trade Unions

The Federation of Egyptian Trade Unions[ consists of 25 syndicates. The General Association is the highest authority and it consists of representatives of the general syndicates selected by the board of directors of according to the proportional representation of its total membership. It meets once a year.

International Labour conventions

·        Forced Labour Convention, 1930    

·        Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948    

·        Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949      

·        Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951    

·        Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957   

·        Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958  

·        Minimum Age Convention, 1973              

·        Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999         

·        Weekly Rest (Industry) Convention, 1921

·        Medical Examination of Young Persons (Industry) Convention, 1946     

·   Medical Examination of Young Persons (Non-Industrial Occupations) Convention, 1946         

·        Labour Inspection Convention, 1947        

·        Labour Clauses (Public Contracts) Convention, 1949                     

·        Protection of Wages Convention, 1949     

·        Migration for Employment Convention (Revised), 1949                                    

·        Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952                         

·        Weekly Rest (Commerce and Offices) Convention, 1957                          

·        Plantations Convention, 1958         

·        Radiation Protection Convention, 1960    

·        Equality of Treatment (Social Security) Convention, 1962    

·        Hygiene (Commerce and Offices) Convention, 1964              

·        Employment Injury Benefits Convention, 1964  

·        Employment Policy Convention, 1964      

·        Medical Examination of Young Persons

·        Labour Inspection (Agriculture) Convention, 1969      

·        Medical Care and Sickness Benefits Convention, 1969

·        Minimum Wage Fixing Convention, 1970 

·        Workers' Representatives Convention, 1971      

·        Occupational Cancer Convention, 1974    

·        Paid Educational Leave Convention, 1974

·        Rural Workers' Organisations Convention, 1975         

·        Human Resources Development Convention, 1975     

·        Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, 1975   

·        Tripartite Consultation (International Labour Standards) Convention, 1976

·        Continuity of Employment (Seafarers) Convention, 1976     

·        Seafarers' Annual Leave with Pay Convention, 1976   

·        Merchant Shipping (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1976

·        Working Environment (Air Pollution, Noise and Vibration) Convention, 1977 

·        Nursing Personnel Convention, 1977        

·        Labour Administration Convention, 1978

·        Labour Relations (Public Service) Convention, 1978   

·        Occupational Safety and Health (Dock Work) Convention, 1979

·        Collective Bargaining Convention, 1981   

·        Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981      

·        Workers with Family Responsibilities Convention, 1981                         

·        Maintenance of Social Security Rights Convention, 1982      

·        Termination of Employment Convention, 1982 

·        Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons) Convention, 1983     

·        Labour Statistics Convention, 1985

·        Occupational Health Services Convention, 1985 Asbestos Convention, 1986   

·        Seafarers' Welfare Convention, 1987        

·        Health Protection and Medical Care (Seafarers) Convention, 1987 

·        Social Security (Seafarers) Convention (Revised), 1987        

·        Repatriation of Seafarers Convention (Revised), 1987 

·        Safety and Health in Construction Convention, 1988  

·        Employment Promotion and Protection against Unemployment Convention, 1988    

·        Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989        

·        Chemicals Convention, 1990 

·        Night Work Convention, 1990        

·        Working Conditions (Hotels and Restaurants) Convention, 1991   

·        Protection of Workers' Claims (Employer's Insolvency) Convention, 1992       

·        Prevention of Major Industrial Accidents Convention, 1993 

·        Part-Time Work Convention, 1994 

·        Safety and Health in Mines Convention, 1995    

·        Home Work Convention, 1996                           

·        Labour Inspection (Seafarers) Convention, 1996                   

·        Recruitment and Placement of Seafarers Convention, 1996   

·        Manning of Ships Convention, 1996         

·        Private Employment Agencies Convention, 1997        

·        Maternity Protection Convention, 2000    

·        Safety and Health in Agriculture Convention, 2001     

·        Maritime Labour Convention, 2006

·        Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006        

·        Work in Fishing Convention, 2007  

·        Domestic Workers Convention, 2011       

·        Unemployment Convention, 1919   

·        Maternity Protection Convention, 1919    

·        Right of Association (Agriculture) Convention, 1921  

·        Workmen's Compensation (Agriculture) Convention, 1921  

·        Equality of Treatment (Accident Compensation) Convention, 1925         

·        Minimum Wage-Fixing Machinery Convention, 1928  

·        Hours of Work (Commerce and Offices) Convention, 1930   

·        Underground Work (Women) Convention, 1935                             

·        Forty-Hour Week Convention, 1935         

·        Officers' Competency Certificates Convention, 1936   

·        Right of Association (Non-Metropolitan Territories) Convention, 1947   

·        Labour Inspectorates (Non-Metropolitan Territories) Convention, 1947  

·        Employment Service Convention, 1948    

·        Night Work (Women) Convention (Revised), 1948      

·        Accommodation of Crews Convention (Revised), 1949         

·        Fee-Charging Employment Agencies Convention (Revised), 1949  

·        Minimum Wage Fixing Machinery (Agriculture) Convention, 1951

·        Social Policy (Basic Aims and Standards) Convention, 1962

·        Holidays with Pay Convention (Revised), 1970 


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