Independent trade union federation rejects minimum wage, threatens ‘third revolution’

The Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU) has rejected a recently proposed minimum wage limit by the government, claiming it distinguishes between public and private sector workers in the country.

In a press conference on Monday, the federation warned that workers will continue their struggle "even if it costs them a third revolution."

Malek Bayoumi, federation chief, rejected the minimum wage saying the government discriminated between public and private sector workers. He also called for setting the maximum wage and said that “government has not met the workers’ demands yet.”

Bayoumi also called for redistribution of wages fairly and monitoring inflation. “The federation will always struggle," he stressed.

Economic expert Ahmed al-Sayyed al-Naggar meanwhile said: "Reforming the wage system has no relation with the minimum wage. There is proportion between the minimum wage and prices.” He added that the minimum wage in 1984 was not high but conformed to prices at the time.

“Bad distribution of the economy in Egypt slows down economic growth, especially that the average wage of worker in manufacturing industries was around 60 percent of the value-added, however, it became quarter the value-added, which is only 25 percent, while the other 75 percent goes to the business owner. This leads to big crisis related to bad wage distribution.”

Naggar blamed the gap on the Cabinet. “Social justice is not a social party. There are always conflicts between businessmen and workers, if social justice was not achieved, especially that it is important for economic growth,” he claimed.

“People are no longer silent. Fascism cannot force people on any decision,” Naggar said, adding that “growing investment at any country is the main indicator of its progress.” He also called for direct investments in all agricultural and industrial fields to provide job opportunities.