CAIRO: Doctors staged protests Wednesday calling for improved pay, implementing a Doctors’ Syndicate vote agreed upon during an emergency general assembly meeting on March 21.
The protests were to be held at 12 pm in government hospitals throughout Egypt.
Around 50 doctors gathered at Abbaseya psychiatric hospital in Cairo, carrying placards saying “an Egyptian doctor’s salary over three years is equivalent to one month of an Arab doctor’s salary and “there will be no compromise on demands for a minimum wage.
Doctors are calling for a LE 1,000 minimum wage. A junior doctor working within the Ministry of Health currently starts on a basic salary of roughly LE 240. Senior doctors receive on average LE 500.
“We have to pay LE 1,800 a year for masters degree tuition fees. I just cannot afford these fees on my wages, one doctor at the Abbasseya protest told Daily News Egypt.
“The Minister of Health promised that wages will be increased but this hasn’t happened, she continued.
The Doctors’ Syndicate previously voted to stage a two-hour strike in hospitals, during an emergency general assembly meeting in February.
The strike was initially endorsed by Syndicate head Dr Hamdy El-Sayyed but was subsequently suspended after Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif suggested in a radio interview that such action would be illegal.
The decision to suspend the strike prompted a one-week sit-in in the Doctors’ Syndicate by members of the Doctors Without Rights lobby group in March.
Members of the group gathered on the steps of the Syndicate Wednesday at 2 pm for a protest attended by roughly 30 doctors.
Dr Said Sayyed, one of the protestors and media spokesman for the Syndicate told Daily News Egypt that doctors were protesting because previous government pledges had failed to materialize.
“The government has promised education allowances for masters degrees but only about 10 percent of those who are meant to benefit from the decree actually receive the financial aid, Sayyed explained.
In statements printed in the daily Al-Badil on Tuesday Syndicate head El-Sayyed is quoted as saying that the new health sector budget announced by the Minister of Health does not include any increases in doctors’ wages or incentive payments.
El-Sayyed is also quoted as saying that the LE 388 million promised by Prime Minister Nazif for wage increases and incentive payments is not included in the new budget.
While El-Sayyed did not join the protest, the media spokesman said that the Syndicate fully supports it.