Syndicates in Yemen: the future horizons [Archives:2004/779/Community]

October 7 2004

Mohammed bin Sallam
The Yemen Center for Strategic Studies set up a symposium Tuesday, Sept 28th on laws regulating workers syndicates and the role of women in them.
The first paper, presented by Sa'eed Abdul-Mun'im Anaam, Chairman of the General Syndicate for Petroleum, Mining and Chemicals, dealt with the law regulating the workers syndicates in Yemen before and after the Reunification.
“Since May 22nd, 1990, several laws have been issued in connection with the labor and the laborers such as Civil Service, Insurance, Labor, and other laws. There are also the laws of parties, and elections in addition to frequent amendments of the constitution,” mentioned the paper.
According to the paper, the law organizing syndicates has remained inactive, though. It went from the Government to the Parliament and vice versa as essential issues remained as sticking points between the two sides. “This legislative inefficiency paralyzed the Yemeni syndicates because issuing the law was significant and was to mark a new phase in the syndicates' history.”
After a lot of dispute, the draft was relegated to the Parliament in April 2001. It remained to be a discussion topic at the Workforce and Social Affairs Commission, and was finally issued in August 2002.
Despite difficulties, the Yemen syndicate work is still in its infancy due to lack of awareness of its importance by the majority of the Yemeni people.”
Miss Fouziah Hussein, head of the Women Department in the Syndicate Commission at the Yemen Petroleum Company, mentioned in her paper the significance of the women's role in the community and their participation in production. She said that women are facing lots of challenges. They should fight for their rights including equal study, work, and promotion opportunities.
“Women had to find the means to achieve their goals and improve their status. Women joined most of the associations, unions, and political and public organizations which were established in compliance with the circumstances and requirements of each stage of development and growth so as to build a developed community enjoying freedom.”
She added: “Women worked during the last period attempting to attain equality with men, and obtain their rights fully as prescribed by the constitution and the law. They have the rights to affiliate to public and political organizations, including syndicates and unions. Yet, women participation is still limited. This is because they are not encouraged by syndicate leaders, and are not educated on their syndicate rights. Laborers in general do not know the conditions of syndicate affiliation, and mistakenly think that syndicates are mere opposition bodies encountering officials of the establishments.”
“Non-establishing of a special frame taking care of women affairs in the unions, since the union formations, have much helped conceal women's real contribution. They are not given the chance to defend their rights,” she concluded.