By Doaa Farid
The National Council for Wages agreed in a meeting on Wednesday to formulate a national wage policy, according to a statement from the Ministry of Planning.
In October 2011, the council approved a minimum wage of EGP700 per month for private sector employees, which took effect in January 2012.
In 2011, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces issued a decree setting the maximum wage at EGP 50,000.
The review of a new wage policy will include studying the maximum and the minimum level of income in the national level, in addition to linking wages and pensions to the standard of living, said the ministry.
The council also reviewed structural problems afflicting the labour market and the wage structure such as: a widening wage gap between workers in different sectors, the weakness of the institutional framework governing this process and the lack of commitment to the minimum wage by some private sector institutions, read the statement.
This consultative meeting was held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Planning by the Ministers of Finance, Industry and Foreign Trade, Investment, Work Force, Social Solidarity and Administrative Development, with the participation of Hossam Eissa, the deputy Prime Minister for social justice, in addition to the chairman of Central Agency for Organisations and Administration and representatives from the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics.
The ministry said the attendees agreed that the concept of social justice included much more than a discussion of the minimum wage; work on additional areas including the social security system and social safety nets must also be pursued, they said.
Al-Nour Party submitted a draft law for the Shura council in February of this year which would set the minimum wages for public and private sector workers at EGP 1,200 per month, with a maximum wage not exceeding 35 times the minimum wage.
Following this meeting, Ashraf El-Arab, the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation met with the director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Cairo office, with former minister of Finance Samir Radwan, who is also an international expert in labour and wage policies.
They discussed methods of support from the ILO to the efforts of the government to reform the social justice system, the labour market and wage policies, in order to create a “clear roadmap” to deal with these issues during the current transitional period, according to the ministry.