CAIRO: Protesting Information Center for Local Development (ICLD) workers say that they reject an offer made by Hussein Megawer, head of the Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions (EFTU), that they be reassigned as Ministry of Health and Ministry of Housing employees.
According to the Center for Trade Union and Workers Services (CTUWS), Megawer proposed to a delegation of ICLD worker representatives that ICLD workers be reassigned to youth centers and employed as rural community leaders who provide family planning advice.
“How am I meant to work as a rural community leader when I have a BA in commerce?” one ICLD employee said.
Clashes broke out Thursday between protesting ICLD workers and riot police who have imposed a tight security cordon around them.
Three ICLD workers were injured and two required hospitalization. One of the injured, Suzanne Abdel-Hamid, fell over in the crush during the clashes and was taken to hospital with very low blood pressure and a weak pulse.
ICLD workers began a sit-in protest outside EFTU’s Cairo headquarters on Tuesday, rallying against the government’s failure to implement a May agreement under which their wages were supposed to be raised from an average of LE 100 per month to LE 320. The government also promised to give them health and pension benefits, which the ICLD workers have still not received.
While according to statements by Megawer published by the state news portal Egynews.net that the ICLD employees’ financial entitlements will be upheld, ICLD worker Ghareeb Suleiman was quoted as saying that “there is no doubt that the officials who signed the [May] agreement are looking for any way out of implementing it.
“The aim of Wednesday’s offer is to split up ICLD workers,” he added.
“This is aimed at breaking up 32,000 ICLD workers so that they can not jointly protest again,” ICLD employee Sayed El-Badawy said, questioning why the Ministry of Health would take on new rural community leaders when they themselves protested unpaid salaries last week.
“How can I go and add my troubles to theirs, when my troubles haven’t been solved in the first place?” Nabil Abdel-Wahed from Fayoum asked.
“What is a 48-year-old meant to do in the Ministry of Health or Housing? … I’ve got 10 years of experience in data management and now I’m meant to go to the Ministry of Health? It won’t work,” Abdel-Wahed added.