Egyptian workers in various public sectors, including the Postal Authority and the Public Transportation Authority, who entered strikes this week are not eligible for the minimum income system, Mesbah Qotb, the finance minister’s adviser for public outreach, told the Daily News Egypt on Wednesday.
No workers in any business sector public companies and government-owned entities, are eligible for the plan, Qotb said. This includes the employees of nine holding companies under the authority of the Ministry of Investment, such as Cotton and Textile Industries Holding Company and the Food Industries Holding Company, which have more than 150 subsidiaries branching out of them.
“Only employees who work in the collections units of the ministries, the government localities and the service authorities, such as the Veterinary Medicine Authority, fall under the categories of those who will receive the announced minimum income increases,” Qotb said.
Qotb said business sector public companies and authorities “themselves” are responsible for raising their employees wages because “these companies have their own regulations that manage their wages system.”
The cabinet released a statement Monday criticising the workers’ strike, calling on the workers “to be alerted that this is the time to maximise production and unite for the renaissance of Egypt,” adding that the companies’ management should clarify their vision to the workers and quickly find solutions to their problems.
Interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi announced in September that the government would set minimum income at EGP 1,200.
The minimum income plan is designed to reduce the financial gap between employees, said Minister of Finance Ahmed Galal said in January. More than 4.8 million workers are expected to benefit from the plan.
The value of the “minimum income bonus” would be related to the employee’s position, he said, and would gradually decrease “as long as the employee is upgrading his position.”
For example, under the system, the pay of the lowest level public employee would jump from EGP 731 to EGP 1,201, marking a 64% increase, he said. Meanwhile, the pay of the highest level employee would hike from EGP 3,590 to EGP 3,470, recording a 4.17% increase.
The discrepancies of income value between the lowest level employee and the highest level employee will be reduced from 491% to 311%, Galal said.
A report released by the finance ministry in October showed that public expenditure included EGP 141bn for wages and compensations, representing a 14.8% increase from the preceding year.
Alaa Awad, spokesman for the Ministry of Manpower said the government could not reach an agreement over the value of minimum income for private sector employees, following negotiations with businessmen and private sector employees organised by the National Council for Wages.
“The private sector can’t be forced to apply the minimum [income],” Awad said, adding that the agreement over the value of private sector minimum income was supposed to be reached in January.