Raising the minimum wage in the private sector in Egypt… Do exceptions hinder it?

Cairo – At a value of 2,400 pounds, or the equivalent of 153 dollars, the National Council for Wages in Egypt announced the start of applying the minimum wage in the private sector for the first time, starting from January 1, next, but it opened the door for exceptions from implementing the decision to struggling companies due to the repercussions of the Corona pandemic. on the local economy.

During its meeting on Tuesday, headed by Hala Al-Saeed, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, President of the National Wages Council, the Council decided to set the value of the periodic bonus at a value of 3% of the insurance wage, i.e., 70 pounds as a minimum, which is applied to all private sector establishments in a balanced manner according to the accounting fiscal year for each Facility, (one dollar equals 15.75 pounds).

And regarding the extent of the mandatory decision, Al-Saeed explained that the decisions of the National Council for Wages will be binding according to the new labor law that was discussed in the Senate (the second chamber of Parliament), and will be discussed in the House of Representatives within weeks.

In addition to the Ministry of Planning, the National Wages Council includes the Ministries of Supply and Internal Trade, the Manpower, the General Mobilization and Statistics Authority, representatives of the Ministry of Social Solidarity, the Central Agency for Organization and Administration, the public business sector, industry unions, chambers of commerce, the Workers Union, and the General Union Investors’ associations and institutions.

Excluding thousands of affected companies

However, thousands of companies submitted requests to the council to exclude them from applying the minimum wage until their economic conditions improved, and the number of requests reached 3,090 individual requests, and 2,855 requests from 22 sectors, and the application of the decision will be postponed to applicants with exception requests until the end of next mid-February until the study is completed Examination and verification of requests.

The most affected sectors are the ready-made garments and textiles sectors, especially those that are exported abroad, in addition to some companies in the tourism sector, some private schools, stock companies and some retail stores, according to the Minister of Planning. Official website to the Ministry.

Al-Saeed described the announcement of the start of implementing the minimum wage in the private sector as an important and unprecedented step in activating the tasks of the National Wage Council and ensuring an adequate standard of living, while at the same time taking into account the difficult economic conditions that several sectors are going through and cannot bear new burdens.

The total number of workers in private sector establishments in Egypt is about 20 million, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (official), while the minimum wage in the private sector before the new decision was about 650 pounds, according to a member of the National Council for Wages Magdy El-Badawy, as stated on the website “Al-Ahram Gate“Egyptian.

The new decision will raise the value of workers’ pensions, according to the Assistant Secretary-General of the General Union of Pensioners Jamal Ismail.

Ismail stressed that the increase in wages will raise the value of the worker’s insurances in the private sector, and thus increase the value of his pension, noting that pensions in the private sector range between 400 and 600 pounds (25 and 38 dollars) due to the low value of insurances paid by the employer.

The minimum wage in the private sector, according to the new decision, will reach 2,400 pounds (Al-Jazeera)

Improving the conditions of workers

In estimating the value of wages, she considered Hanan Nazir Director of the Labor Market Policies Unit and advisor to the National Wage Council, she said that it corresponds to average wages at the regional level, the sectoral level in Egypt, and inflation rates. The decision would provide a decent life for workers, while at the same time preserving the facility from being affected by the implementation of the decision.

However, the former Assistant Secretary-General of the Workers’ Committee of the Tagammu Party, Talal Shukr, criticized the annual bonus rate stipulated in the decision, which is only 3%, and considered it a violation of the Labor Law, which stipulates that the bonus should be 7%.

And if about 90% of private sector companies apply more than the minimum wage set by the National Council for Wages, at 2,400 pounds – according to statements Minister of ManpowerWhat is new in the decision, while exempting troubled establishments that are unable to meet the minimum level of the decision?

Not enough individual requirements

Reactions varied on social networking sites, as some saw that the decision wins for workers and obliges employers to raise wages similar to the government sector, while others stressed that the minimum wage of 2,400 pounds is not enough to meet the daily requirements of an individual or a family consisting of 4 people, especially in light of Increasing prices, rising rents, bills, transportation and other daily needs.

And if raising the minimum wage in the private sector is good news for many, then President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s talk yesterday, Wednesday, about not allowing the issuance of ration cards for more than two people, and not granting any new married couple a ration card, erases the effects of that joy.

According to Reuters, Egypt’s broad subsidy program provides items such as bread, rice and sugar to more than 60 million Egyptians, with about 30% of the population falling below the government’s poverty line, and many suffering from a lack of water or sanitation.

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