Two days ahead of the International Workers' Day celebrations, the supreme administrative court decided that any government worker who participates in a strike or a sit-in would be forcibly retired, due to the harm caused to "the public interest."
The court said that workers protests are a violation of the Islamic Sharia law, which is based on "fending off corruption", especially if the strike harms the interests of the citizens.
The court explained that the Islamic Shariaa must be considered in any decree related to workers' rights, according to a condition intriduced by the former president Mohammed Anwar El-Sadat when he signed the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adopted by the United Nations.
The decree was issued one day after President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi met with workers' representatives. During the meeting, he spoke about the importance of production in the coming days.
The court's decree stated that a protest is not a demonstration, but rather a strike, as workers suspend all their production work, in spite of being part of the government workforce.
Implementing the new decision, the court has sent three officials from " Qors" in Monofia governorate to retirement, postponing the promotion of 14 others, pending investigations of their participation in a strike.
The decision has caused widespread outrage among government employees, and the Doctors syndicate announced its full adherence to the constitutional right of doctors to peaceful strike.
In an official statement released on Wednesday, the syndicate said that the right to strike is a basic need, which must be respected by Egypt, and any worker has the right to defend himself whenever he is exposed to unjust work conditions.
The statement emphasized that the Islamic law has never opposes any fundamental human right, as all religions are based on establishing truth and equality, while combating injustice.
The syndicate argued that all professional associations, unions, and those interested in workers' rights must stand against the decision and stop any attempts to criminalize the right to strike.
"The right to protest is legal and constitutional as long as the protest is peaceful," said Seoud Omar, the Labour Advisor for Egyptian Union of Independent Syndicates
He pointed out that he is against general strokes at strategic facilities like transportation services because of their impact on the public, but insisted that workers have the embark on a partial strike to demand better work conditions.
He warned that the court's verdict can still be appealed, and that if no action is taken it could soon be applied to private-sector workers as well.
When asked if the decree would effectively curb workers protests, Omar said "it will not have a negative impact on dissatisfied workers, in the past there were extreme penalties against striking workers, but it did not silence them or stop them from voicing their demands".
Dahlia Mousa, the workers' coordinator at the Egyptian Center for Social and Economic Rights told Egypt Independent that she workers to begin withdrawing from strikes.
"The amount of workers' protests has declined during the past couple of years, given the police brutality and the laws which criminalize protesting, portraying whoever stages a demonstration as a Muslim Brotherhood supporter," Moussa said.
However, Moussa expects a "workers rising" to take place after some time, given the authorities' indifference towards their work conditions and rights.
She pointed out that the ECSR hasn't decided yet to take any steps to appeal the verdict.