By Hend El-Behary
Employees of notary offices throughout Egypt continued their strikes into the eighth day on Tuesday.
The nationwide strike started on 15 July when protests began in Cairo, Beheira, Aswan, Monofeya, and quickly spread to the rest of the governorates across the country.
Employees called the strike in response to the latest administrative decree by the Ministry of Justice, which raised incentives for experts and forensic practitioners up to 200 percent even though the raises were not asked for.
The raises sparked protest among notary employees who suspended work.
The employees are asking for better salaries, independence from the Ministry of Justice, a raise of bonuses and incentives, and better working conditions.
“We just want equality,” said Yasmen Ragab, a notary office employee. “We are the most profitable section in the ministry. We bring in millions.”
“It’s unfair that experts and forensics incentives rose up, apart from us,” Ragab continued.
“The Ministry of Justice completely ignored our demands. However, we’ll irrevocably resume strikes until we achieve our demands.”
The Daily News Egypt contacted the Ministry of Justice to inquire about the workers’ demands, but an officer denied the strikes were happening.
“We don’t have strikes. Employees were working normally,” the officer said.
Demands varied across governorates.
Menia protesters focused mainly on incentives and medical insurance, while in Ismaielia protesters called for punishment of all notary officials for corruption as well.
In Gharbia, protesters called for social justice along with demands for better pay.
In the Red Sea governorate, some employees returned to work on their second day of striking, seeking to end the impasse and not disturb the work flow.
In August 2011, similar protests took place.
Protesters asked the Justice Minister, at that time Mohamed Abdel Aziz al-Guindi, for independence from the Ministry of Justice, which he agreed to following the strikes.
But this agreement never went into effect and the employees went on strike once again in March.