CAIRO: Workers from the Information Centers for Local Development (ICLD) say that they will not end the sit-in they have begun at the Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions (EFTU) building in Cairo until EFTU head Hussein Megawer responds to their demands.
In intense heat, some 500 men, women and children assembled outside the EFTU building on Tuesday where they held up banners reading, “Save us … The ministers are drowning us” and chanted anti-government and anti-EFTU slogans.
“How can they expect us to bring up our kids to love this country when the way they treat us is making us hate it?” ICLD worker Iman Ghareeb said.
Tuesday’s sit-in is the latest in a nine-year battle ICLD workers have led for parity with other government employees.
During the nine years the majority of the 32,000 ICLD workers have been employed, they have been repeatedly promised that they would be made permanent employees and receive pay increases and health and pension benefits. The latest of these promises was made in May, after ICLD workers staged a sit-in outside parliament.
Under the agreement, workers were promised pay increases from the LE 99 – LE 150 they previously earned.
Workers staged another protest in September after this promise was not upheld. Most recently, on Monday Oct. 11, security forces broke up a protest workers staged outside the Shoura Council.
Ahmed El-Merghany, an ICLD worker from Fayoum, explained that workers were told that a committee made up of five ministries and administrative divisions headed by Labor Minister Aisha Abdel-Hady would examine their situation on Sunday.
“Unfortunately, nothing’s been done,” El-Merghany said.
Workers say that back pay of salaries owed to them under the new pay scheme — which they were told in September would be paid in October — has also not been paid out.
“There are people here who have no other source of income other than the ICLD. Where are their rights? What has happened to the government’s promises?” El-Merghany said.
“For people who are now 34 or 35 years old, where are they going to find jobs when there aren’t any jobs anywhere in the country in the first place?” he continued.
ICLD employee Ghareeb Abdel-Fatah told Daily News Egypt that Megawer has informed workers that a solution will be reached within 48 hours. Workers, however, are pledging to stay in the EFTU building until a solution is reached.