Amid mass passing of laws, Egypt’s parliament rejects civil service law
Civil servants protest presidential decree - Courtesy: Siham Shwada
 

Parliamentary news sources reported on Wednesday that the highly controversial civil service law was rejected, with 332 members of parliament voting against the law, versus 150 in favor and seven abstentions.

The law was rejected by the whole parliamentary manpower committee tasked with reviewing relevant laws. Parliament voted to send the civil service law back to the president and cabinet for further amendments.

Unlike many other presidential decrees, this piece of legislation has proven to be widely unpopular nationally. Even staunchly pro-government parliamentarians voted against it.

Issued in March last year, the decree provoked heavy resistance from public sector workers, unions, political parties, rights organizations, and NGOs.

This decree imposing a new civil service law had, in effect, served to halt the bonuses, slow wage increases and limit the promotions of countless civil servants, while granting sweeping powers to state-appointed company administrators.

Numerous labor protests were staged against the civil service law in 2015. Protesting civil servants affected by this presidential decree argued that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had never conferred with them, or with their unions, before introducing this unpopular piece of legislation.

Scholar Nadine Abdalla asserted in an opinion article for the privately-owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper that, while the law is an important milestone for the reform of the bureaucracy, the way it was prepared and presented is a source of contention. She argued the law ignores the effect of poor working conditions and systems on employee performance. She also said the way it was presented ignored pleas for amendements through union representatives.

Some 331 decrees issued by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and interim President Adly Mansour have been passed by Egypt’s new parliament since it convened on January 10. The legislative body was given just 10 days to review all of the decrees issued since the ratification of the constitution, in the absence of a parliament.

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