Sisi: Egypt’s Labour Day chance to highlight workers’ achievement in building ‘new republic’

Amr Kandil , Sunday 1 May 2022

Egypt’s celebration of Labour Day is an opportunity to highlight the progress made by loyal Egyptian workers in building the “new republic,” President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said in a recorded speech aired Sunday on the holiday, which is observed worldwide on 1 May.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi addresses the nation in a recorded speech on the occasion of Egypt s Labour Day on 1 May. Egyptian Presidency

The “new republic” term has been mentioned repeatedly by the president since it was introduced for the first time in March last year with the inauguration of the New Administrative Capital (NAC). El-Sisi said that the relocation of the government’s headquarters to the mega-city will be “a declaration of a new republic.”

“[Labour Day] is also an occasion for us to foresee the future of our children together with a new spirit full of hope and to work together, as with work nations are built and civilisations are established,” El-Sisi said.

El-Sisi congratulated male and female workers as well as the Arab and Islamic nations on the occasions of the three-day Eid Al-Fitr, which starts this year on Monday.

During his speech, El-Sisi hailed the Egyptian workers as the “nation builders, hope givers and makers of the future of the coming generations,” vowing to support their rights and stand by their side.

“You are the solid foundation of this society, its main means of survival and continuity, and its driving force towards growth and prosperity,” he added in his speech.

The state is aiming toward an important phase of work and production to reach new horizons for the future of the dear nation, El-Sisi said, affirming that this requires Egyptian workers to “continue the right path that we have started.”

Withstanding global crises

The president shed light on the situation of Egyptian workers during global crises, including coronavirus and the “latest international developments that have a direct impact on global economic growth,” referring to the Russia-Ukraine war.

“Egypt is part of the world and is affected by what [the world] is affected by,” the president said.

The state, therefore has taken preventive measures that aim at protecting the Egyptian economic system from disruption in light of the recent global developments, El-Sisi affirmed.

“The successive achievements and mega projects that have been established in Egypt during the past seven years have become a major reason for withstanding challenges and crises,” the president said.

He added that all the state’s national projects “without exception” aim first and foremost at improving the quality of life and achieving a decent life for Egyptian people.

In wake of the coronavirus, Egypt has also attached great importance to digital transformation of all the state’s services and sectors, the president said.

He noted that in-person work has been significantly harmed by the repercussions of the pandemic.

“Millions of workers in the world have lost their jobs and new types of work have emerged that depend entirely on modern technology; the winner during that period was the one who made the best use of modern digital developments and kept pace with their speed,” the president stated.

El-Sisi highlighted the state’s initiative to provide support and required social protection to the neediest during the pandemic, including by economically empowering and providing cash grants to irregular workers. This is in addition to securing job opportunities for them and working to integrate them into the formal work sector.

The wages of regular workers in distressed companies have also been paid through the workers’ emergency fund, El-Sisi said.

Also, the state has provided support to businesses amid the pandemic by issuing a package of exemptions and monetary benefits to ease the burden on their shoulders, he added.

These measures were praised by international organisations and bodies, which considered Egypt’s response to be a model internationally, the president said.

“We all overcame this crisis in a stronger and more solid manner,” El-Sisi stressed.

Curbing unemployment, raising wages

The state has intensified its efforts to curb unemployment, including by expanding the implementation of national mega projects, establishing the Egyptian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA), and designing rehabilitation and training programs for job seekers, the president said.

“To ensure that this is achieved, I instructed the government to quickly complete the national strategy for employment, which aims at securing new job opportunities for youth and ensuring an increase in jobs in line with the economic growth,” El-Sisi said.

The president explained that this strategy will cope with the new reality of the labour market, keep pace with sudden economic changes and modern technological transformations, and effectively address future jobs.

El-Sisi also spoke about the state’s keenness to raise the minimum wages of workers at state institutions as well as in the private sector.

“The National Council for Wages has reached a consensus on setting the minimum wage for workers in the private sector for the first time in Egypt in many years,” El-Sisi noted.

In January, El-Sisi ordered raising the minimum monthly wage for public sector employees from EGP 2,400 to EGP 2,700 in the state budget for the fiscal year 2022/23.

The National Council for Wages also announced in December that Egypt would mandate a minimum monthly wage of EGP 2,400 for the private sector with a monthly bonus worth three percent of the employee’s insurance.

Women empowerment

Concerning women empowerment, the state has carried out many reforms related to working women, El-Sisi said, adding that he has urged the government to set a supportive framework to empower women in the labour market, support them to join future jobs and protect them in their workplace.

“It has been clear that empowering women economically and enhancing their participation in the labour market helps accelerate the country's economic growth, contributes to increasing national income and doubles development rates,” El-Sisi said.

Egypt has taken several steps over the past several years to boost women empowerment in all fields, including economically. The unemployment rate among women decreased from to 17.7 percent from 24 percent in 2020, Chairwoman for the National Council for Women (NCW) Maya Morsy said in October.

The state has also worked to ensure women’s access to various positions and increase their representation in official bodies, including parliamentary chambers, the judiciary and municipalities.

Since 2014, the representation of women in parliament has increased to 28 percent, in the Senate to 14 percent, in ministerial posts to 25 percent and in diplomatic posts to 56 percent, Morsy said in a speech before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) in Geneva.

Egypt has also adopted a series of procedures and policies to protect women against violence. The country’s constitution has included more than 20 articles regulating the issues of citizenship, equality and criminalising violence and non-discrimination, Morsy said.

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