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Hundreds of Egypt's tax authority employees protest 'unjust' civil service law

According to the government, the new law aims to solve issues related to bureaucratic inefficiency

Randa Ali , Monday 10 Aug 2015
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Employees of Tax Authority protest the new civil service law in front of the Journalist Syndicate in downtown Cairo, Egypt, 10 August 2015 (Photo: Randa Ali)
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Hundreds of protesters gathered on Monday at the Journalists Syndicate in downtown Cairo  to condemn the civil service law. 

"We are demanding the annulment of the civil service law," Tarek El-Kashef, tax authority officer, told Ahram Online.

The tax authority has been among the most harmed institutions by the law, El-Kashef said.

He described the law as "problematic" and accused the government of disregarding public sector employees.

"There are no guarantees for the employee [in the law]. If my employer doesn't like me, he can easily fire me or send me to investigation," he added.

The civil service law, which was passed last March sholtly before Egypt's International Economic Conference, aims to reform Egypt’s administrative apparatus in order to encourage investments by curbing bureaucratic inefficiencies, streamlining hiring practices and wage-structures in government institutions.

According to the new law, basic salaries would constitute 80 percent of overall wages in all government institutions as opposed to the older unit-by-unit system of dertermination, while bonuses, traditionally dependent on seniority, would be calculated based on performance.

"10 years from now, my basic salary would remain the same in inflation and increase in prices," El-Kashef added.

The protest, which nearly blocked off Abdel-Khalek Tharwat Street in downtown Cairo, was organised by the general syndicate for tax authority employees and the antiquity ministries' employees union.

"This law has made our situation worse than it already is," Nesma Abdel-Razek said, an employee at the antiquities ministry.

"It is an unjust law on all levels. We are demanding that the law be annulled - not amended," Abdel-Razek added.  

In an interview with state news agency MENA on Monday morning, Minister of Planning Ashraf El-Arabi said that the government is not considering any changes to the controversial law.

In earlier statements, El-Arabi had said that if there are any problems with the law after its passage, changes could be made to the bylaws of the legislation, but not to the law itself.  

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