Egyptian NGO Democracy Meter issued a report Tuesday on Egypt’s labour movement in the first half of 2015, marking steadiness in the labour protest movement size since 2014.
The report tracked the labour movement in the broader sense of the term, that includes every wageworker whether for a public or private institution, small businesses or handicrafts. The report tracked 48 categories of labourers who demanded rights related to their work.
The categories included lawyers, journalists, university staff, security workers, butchers, engineers, pharmacists and pilots.
A total of 599 protests were recorded between January and June of 2015, with an average of three protests a day. These numbers are consistent with the 433 protests in the last four months of 2014, according to the report.
However, the Democracy Meter figures conflict with government officials’ statements. Minister of Manpower Nahed Al-Ashry stated last Tuesday that the number of labour protests in 2015 were approximately 100 protests in comparison to 200 protests in 2014.
The organisation added that the difference in figures could be referred to either a deviation in the official statistics and the governments tracking of labour issues, or “an attempt to create imaginary gains and draw an unreal image of labour reality in Egypt”.
The report highlighted that the industrial sector led the labour protests in 2015 with 169 protests, followed by the educational sector with 89 protests. The main demands of the protests according to the report included: higher wages, salaries and/or allowances and protesting arbitrary dismissals.
The report showed concerns on Al-Ashry’s reactions to labour protest, saying they lacked systemised solutions. Instead, instead they were mainly directly attempts to solve every dispute on its own.