Egypt’s Prime Minister Meets Civil Servants After Mass Protest

By on 20/08/2015
Egypt's Prime Minister, Ibrahim Mahlab, Meets Civil Servants After Mass Protest

The prime minister of Egypt, Ibrahim Mehleb, has moved to reassure officials over a new civil service law, which sparked one of the country’s largest anti-government rallies amid a crackdown on dissent earlier this month, it has been reported.

On 10 August, at least 2,000 civil servants working for the country’s customs and tax authorities protested against the new law, which they said would weaken workers’ rights.

Now, Mehleb has met with some of the protesters and told them that the new law would not cause any “work termination or reduction of salaries,” according to the Daily News Egypt.

He said a committee of experts would study the protesters’ suggestions and that extensive discussions with stakeholders would be held before a new civil service code of conduct is drafted.

In March this year, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ratified a new version of the civil service law which sets out a new system for salaries, incentives and compensations and which centralises the recruitment process.

The government says the law will improve Egypt’s administrative apparatus by curbing bureaucratic inefficiencies, streamlining hiring practices and complex wage-structures in government institutions.

But the tax authority claims the law takes away civil servants’ protection and makes it easy for employers to fire staff “if they don’t like them.”

Critics also say the law should have been consulted on before it was passed, given its wide scope.

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World – the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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