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Egypt: PSI affiliates push for suspension of civil service law

18 August 2015
Tax workers in Egypt are protesting the government’s imposition of the Civil Service Law number 18 for the year 2015. The new law was issued without any social dialogue, and has also resulted in a pay decrease for many workers.

Two PSI affiliates in Egypt, the General Syndicate of Sales Taxes Workers and the Tax Authority Real Estate Union (RETA) held a protest on 10 August in front of the press syndicate in Cairo. Thousands of tax workers were joined by workers from the customs authority, the national social insurance authority and the railways to ask the government to annul or suspend law number 18 for 2015.

The law, enacted in March, regulates appointment criteria, vocational degrees, salaries, pensions and promotions for workers at government agencies. The workers are demanding that the law be annulled or suspended until forthcoming parliamentary elections, when the parliament will review the laws.

The government has ignored tax workers’ unions’ requests for social dialogue and instead has pushed the law through despite its lack of clarity and the delay in issuing the executive statute.

The government had claimed the law would raise workers’ salaries but in reality, extra deductions have meant that many workers are receiving a smaller net wage than before the law was enforced. In Egypt, the salaries are composed of the basic wage plus a supplementary wage which makes up the major part of the salary. The new legislation stipulates that the supplementary wage will no longer be subject to increases, as was formerly the case.

The government has issued two cabinet decrees for 2015, stipulating that no employee’s wage would be decreased, but those decrees are not implemented in many administrative units. The unions also see the decrees as an exceptional and temporary solution and ask the government to stop working with the law until the executive statute has been issued.

The PSI affiliates are also demanding that the government:

  • Issues a clear declaration about an effective mechanism to reconsider the minimum wage and increase it according to inflation and price increases, and the issue of a general law stipulating the minimum wage.
  • Reconsiders the issue of the supplementary wage so that the net wage of any employee will not decrease from what they previously received.

The unions also assert their right to express the interests of the workers and to practice all forms of pressure by peaceful means to defend the workers and achieve their rights.

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