Egypt's Sisi dissatisfied with parliament's rejection of civil service law

Ahram Online , Saturday 23 Jan 2016

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi speaks at a ceremony marking Police Day, which falls on Jan. 25, the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, in Cairo (AP)

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi expressed his dissatisfaction on Saturday with the parliament's rejection of a controversial law which aims to reform the civil service, the first criticism the president has directed at the body since it convened last month.  

In a speech at Egypt's police academy to mark the upcoming National Police Day, El-Sisi said that although he didn't want to interfere in parliamentary affairs, he urged MPs to “further study the issue for the sake of future generations.”

"When a law that aims to reform is presented, and then the MPs view it as a law that can't pass, then okay, no problem… but take note that you're asking me for reform and development. Never consider that such [plans] are an easy task. The responsibility of the Egyptian people is a full responsibility on us all," El-Sisi said.  

El-Sisi cited three main points concerning the law. Firstly, that the state has up to seven million workers, whereas there may be a need for only one million; however, they will keep all workers after the law is passed.

Secondly, he stressed that wages will not decrease by any means, and thirdly, that any raises in salaries will be given to those owed them.

"We are not living alone. We are living while we have to be ready to provide our children and grandchildren with a good future. This is integrity in our hands. Before saying a word, further study the issue," El-Sisi said, his voice animated.

The law, which was signed by Egypt's cabinet in November 2015, has met with widespread criticism by many state employees, labour unions and other labour rights activists, who say the legislation, would destroy the long held rights such as job security, and could also push many thousands of the six million government workers out of work.

On Wednesday, MPs voted 468 to 332 against the law.

The law is likely to be sent to the parliamentary committee on labour issues for further review and modification before returning to the floor of the house.

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