Small farmers and their rights absent in the establishment of independent trade unions

The situation of the peasants in the countryside of Egypt continues to suffer from many economic and social problems, exacerbated by the absence of the peasants’ right to organize through their right to establish their civil institutions from trade unions and cooperatives according to their free and independent will. Following the revolution of the twenty-fifth of January and the emergence of a number of agricultural unions in the countryside of Egypt. However, this right is still faced by many images of arbitrariness and intransigence exercised by the directorates of the workforce in Egypt on the establishment and publicity of independent agricultural organizations, where are imposed several restrictions, There are many farmers in Egypt working in agriculture and farming the land without being restricted in the job of a farmer with a personal identification card, because proving the profession as a farmer requires to have possession of agricultural land, and this condition Does not apply to nearly one million farmers in Egypt known as “landless peasants” where they practice agriculture, raise livestock, produce poultry, etc. but are not registered in the official agricultural associations’ registers as owners or farmers because they do not own agricultural land, which is a condition Is essential to the recognition of the peasantry and justifiable The same is true for women working in agriculture. While the Egyptian labor laws, especially Law 12 of 2003, called the Unified Labor Law, do not recognize women working in agriculture, on the other hand, many labor directorates Egypt is required to have an identity card with an agricultural profession as a condition for joining the establishment of a trade union for women working in agriculture, which increases the marginalization of women workers in agriculture and deprives them of any rights that may be received in respect of the right to health insurance or social security, Any trade unions that defend their rights to practice agriculture and related activities, knowing that the number of women working in agriculture exceeds four million women.

There are also many problems that prevent the ability of these trade unions to develop their own resources. There are many forms and forms of rejection of many small farmers’ unions in the possibility of adopting their stamp in many administrative bodies, especially the Civil Records Department, To the Union of Agricultural Professions “a trade union and not a labor” in obtaining the adoption of their cards for national identity cards, and the consequent amounts of money collected from small farmers instead of using them as financial resources for the benefit of their emerging unions.

The absence of the Trade Union Freedoms Law so far has put many more restrictions and obstacles on the small farmers ‘unions in the Egyptian countryside so far, and the Egyptian government has not yet ratified the Rural Workers’ Convention, No. 141 of 1975.

In the same context, there are many internal problems facing small farmers’ unions, including:

– Low knowledge of the importance of union work in the Egyptian countryside.

– The difficulty of the procedures of establishment and the negative of officials in the directorates of the labor force concerned with the establishment.

– The hostility faced by trade unions from official bodies

– Weak financial resources due to lack of living conditions and difficulty of communication with members.

– Failure to complete the institutional construction of the union and weak organizational structure and weak membership and the failure of members of the union to pay monthly contributions.

– Difficulties of attracting new members of the union.

– Difficult to obtain a permanent headquarters of the union facilitates the work and the absence of a hall to hold seminars.

– Bad selection of some members of the Board of Directors.

Difficulty providing services to union members due to poor financial resources.

– Lack of material, technical and moral support from the state to trade unions in the countryside

– Modernity of the rural era of union work and lack of awareness of the importance of collective action.

In this context, the Egyptian Association for Collective Rights calls for the application of the articles of the Constitution issued in 2014 to issue the Freedom of Association Law, which includes affirmation of the free will of farmers and agricultural employment in rural Egypt, and also the amendment of the Labor Law No. 12 of 2003 recognizing the agricultural employment of women working in agriculture The need for a unified law on cooperatives based on cooperative pluralism and free will to establish cooperatives as an entry point for economic empowerment and also to implement the principle of food sovereignty for small farmers, Agriculture sector and Aloradh text of Article 69 of the Egyptian Constitution.

Request the Egyptian government to ratify Convention 141 on Rural Employment as an input to affirm the rights of workers in the agricultural sector and related activities.