Investors’ federation calls for upping minimum wage to LE600/month

The Egyptian Federation of Investor Associations this week called for raising the national monthly minimum wage to LE600.

Last week, Egypt's National Wage Council officially raised the legal minimum wage to LE400 per month.

“The federation has agreed upon a proposal to increase the national minimum wage to an initial LE600 with the prospect of further increases,” federation president Mohamed Farid Khamis said at a symposium on Monday. He pointed out that average wages at private-sector factories were higher than the minimum wage set by the national council–a state of affairs he described as “unacceptable."

Khamis went on to say that the minimum wage set by the council did not correlate with the average salaries of Chinese workers, which stand at roughly US$245 (LE1300) per month and which must be raised by law to US$500 following three months of employment. This, Khamis said, indicated that an increased minimum wage would not have negative consequences in terms of competition between Egyptian and Chinese products, as some have suggested.

According to Mohamed Trabelsi of the International Labor Organization (ILO), Egypt's minimum wage should correlate with the US$2-per-day median poverty line, in line with ILO agreements stipulating that wages must guarantee a "decent life" for citizens and proscribing all forms of wage discrimination.

Trabelsi told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the three parties concerned–the government, workers and employers–all considered the minimum wage issue an "internal affair," noting that none of the parties had so far requested ILO intervention.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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