1420 protests took place in factories in the first quarter of 2014
A protest by workers in Egypt - YOUM7(Archive)
By NOUR MOHIE EDDIN

CAIRO: The labor movement witnessed an unprecedented escalation in protests and strikes across different economic sectors during the first quarter of 2013, reported Al-Mal.

The number of protests during the first quarter of 2014 reached 1,420 protests, according to a study released in affiliation with El-Mahrousa Center for Socioeconomic Development.

In January workers carried out 55 protests in 21 different governorates. February witnessed an unprecedented 1,044 protests in 27 governorates and 321 strikes occurred in March in 23 governorates.

In honor of Labor Day, May 1, a number of political and revolutionary movements in Alexandria organized human chains in Mehatet Masr Square on Thursday to demand that workers rights are implemented, Youm7 reported.

Participants carried signs with workers demands written on them. The movements that organized the human chains said the workers are being denied their rights by the government, which stands against their rights. The movements said in a statement that workers suffer from arbitrary dismissal because they ask for their right to a better life.

El-Mahrousa Center for Socioeconomic Development’s report also said the main reason behind the protests is a government decision from September 2013, which set the minimum wage at 1,200 EGP (U.S. $171). The decision was limited to government employees and came into force in January 2014. This aroused controversy among workers, as questions arose regarding whether the decision will be applied in the private sector and why it was not issued by a law.

During a Labor Day celebration, interim President Adly Mansour headed Wednesday to Cairo International Conference Center where Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, Minister of Manpower Nahed Ashry, Cairo Governor Galal al-Saeed and head of the General Union for Egypt’s Workers Gebali Mohamed Gebali welcomed him, Youm7 reported. Mansour gave a speech addressed to the nation on State TV in which he praised the role of workers in building up the country and achieving economic and industrial success by promoting the slogan “Made in Egypt”.

Mansour also addressed the importance of developing technical education as the way of graduating generations of skillful workers that can meet the needs of Egypt’s labor market.

“You, Egypt’s workers, are a key class in society and a motivating power,” said Mansour, adding that hard work is the normal process by which income is increased.

“Our economy needs a real boom to develop Egyptian industry” continued Mansour.

The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics published a press release Wednesday, to represent Labor Day, under the international slogan “Chicago showed us the way” as Egypt’s slogan in 2013 was “We want to work, fair wage and free syndicates”.

Results of the labor force survey said that the labor force participation rate increased to 48.5 percent in 2013.

The employment rate reached 86.8 percent of the total labor force, while the number of unemployed is 3.649 million persons (13.2 percent of the total labor force). Unemployment reached 24.2 percent among women compared to 9.8 percent among men.

Additional reporting by Nour Dhulfakkar. 

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