Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi with PM Sherif Ismail (R), Minister of Manpower Mohamed Saafan (Far R) and Head of ETUF Gebali El-Maraaghi (L) at labor day celebrations on Sunday April 29, 2018 (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi hailed on Sunday the Egyptian people for bearing the brunt of the economic reform program, while stressing that more work is needed to keep the economy on track.
"All the thanks and gratitude goes to the Egyptians for their extraordinary efforts," El-Sisi said at a labor day event, which was hosted by the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF) to mark the 1 May International Workers Day celebrations.
"Ordinary people withstood the tough impacts of the economic reform program, making sincere sacrifices," the President said.
The event was attended by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Minister of Manpower Mohamed Saafan, as well as the Head of the ETUF Gibali Al-Meraghi.
The president also highlighted "the great achievements of Egypt's workers over the past four years," adding that more hard work is needed.
"Your efforts are greatly valued and you will bear the fruits of your achievements very soon, although you will have to bear more with me," said El-Sisi.
"The new Suez Canal, which was built in one year, the tunnels which were dug in one year, the electric power plants built in two years, all the road networks and many other projects, were implemented by you," El-Sisi said.
El-Sisi went on to explain that despite the impact on low-income familes across Egypt, the economic reforms were necessary.
"We could not turn a blind eye to the reform program, otherwise the challenges would have been vast," he said.
He explained that the reform program had succeeded in achieving its aims.
In addition, he said, the reforms had shown the world the strong will of the Egyptians and their understanding of the problems their country is currently facing.
In his speech, Minister of Manpower Saafan highlighted the ministry's recent efforts to create more job opportunities for Egyptians. He said 285,282 jobs had been created in Egypt in the past year, while 475,00 new jobs had been secured outside Egypt in 16 different countries during the same period.
He added that trade union elections are expected to be held in May, the first such elections since 2016.
Speaking about the new labor law proposals, which are being discussed by parliament, Safaan said his ministry is working to establish a fair and balanced relationship between employers and workers.
"We have worked on new bylaws that aim to achieve balance between the rights of the employer and the worker, avoiding all the issues that were in the old law," said Safaan.
The Head of the ETUF El-Maraghi praised president Sisi's attention to implementing social insurance policies to protect temporary and seasonal workers.
"The Egyptian Trade Union movement has witnessed defining moments in its history since last year's Workers' Day celebration, represented by the modernization of labor legislation systems, which paves the way for the main production forces, the government, workers and employers to achieve prospects of decent life and secure jobs, El-Maraghi said in comments at the event.
President El-Sisi asked trade union workers to choose their representatives in the elections carefully.
Egypt celebrates Workers' Day on 1 May, marking the event with a national holiday.