Minimum wage in the Arab world is a way to lift people out of poverty: ILO

Ahram Online, Tuesday 18 Sep 2012

A workshop in Jordan organised by the International Labour Organization will stress the need for minimum wage policies in the Arab world

Minimum wage
Egyptian teachers protest to increase wages in 2011 (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

The International Labour Organization (ILO) will tell participants at a summit in Amman on wage policies that "Arab workers need a minimum of income protection," said an ILO statement released on Monday.

ILO will tell participants during the four days “Regional Tripartite Meeting on Wage Policies in the Arab Countries” meeting that governments could lift millions out of poverty by adopting more coherent and inclusive minimum wage setting policies.

“The minimum wage is an important policy tool for alleviating poverty and promoting social stability,” Nada Al-Nashif, ILO Regional Director for the Arab States, was quoted as saying.

The financial and economic crisis let to a cut in global wage growth in 2008-2009 by around a half, the Global Wage Report for 2010/2011 indicated. The Middle East and Africa's 75 million wage earners in both the formal and informal sectors were affected such cuts as well, according to the statement.

"It [the minimum wage] ensures that the socio-economic conditions of workers and their families meet the minimum requirements for a life of dignity. The increasing vulnerability of workers as a result of the global financial and economic crisis makes the need for sound wage-setting policies all the more pressing,” Al-Nashif was quoted as saying on Monday.

Egypt's Cabinet has recently enacted a minimum wage rate for all wage earners in Egypt, with the rate set at LE708 ($116) gross monthly income, implemented retroactively from January 2012.

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