"The minimum wage problem will be settled within 3 to 6 months," announced Ahmed Hassan El-Borai, the newly-appointed minister of labour and migration, adding that the National Council for Wages, which was responsible for setting it in Mubarak's era, will not have a say.
"The study of minimum wages is one of the priorities of the ministry," said the minister.
El-Borai confirmed that he could not take any decision before negotiating with the ministry of finance, the largest employer in the country, with an administrative body of 6 million employees.
'The minister told me when we were on a TV interview that he coordinates with experts from the International Labour Organization to help Egypt resolve minimum wages disputes," Kamal Abbas, general co-ordinator for the Centre for Trade Union and Workers Services (CTUWS), told Ahram Online.
'He is honest and will complete what he pledged. That is why he set an executive period of time between 3 to 6 months, also because the problem is very complicated," says Abbas.
There is a study belonging to Gouda Abdel Khaleq, minister of social justice, setting the minimum wages at LE900 and another one by Samir Radwan, minister of finance, setting it at LE656, based on an estimation of the poverty line.
Manal Metwally of Cairo University presented a 2008 study that proposed minimum wage be set at varying levels - at LE400, LE482, and LE965, for the spinning and weaving sector, the wood industry and its products, and the engineering and electrical industries, respectively.