Sunday,15 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1270, (12 - 18 November 2015)
Sunday,15 July, 2018
Issue 1270, (12 - 18 November 2015)

Ahram Weekly


Compiled by Doaa El-Bey

Al-Ahram Weekly

Gamal Sorour: A challenging task

Minster of Manpower Gamal Sorour, whose principal task is to defend the rights of workers in Egypt, has faced various challenges since he assumed his new position in Sherif Ismail’s government in September.

He came under fire this week after an interview with the independent newspaper Al-Watan, in which he stated that a minimum wage would harm workers and the presence of multi syndicates for workers presented an impediment rather than an incentive.

He was criticised by labour syndicate leaders for not defending the right to a minimum wage and the right to form unions. They accused him of defending businessmen’s interests.

Perhaps the most challenging situation, however, was last month’s protests and strikes by workers at the government-run Misr Spinning and Weaving Company in Al-Mahalla over the decision to withhold a 10 per cent bonus due since July. The workers halted production in the textiles factories and refused to receive their salaries.

The problem prompted Sorour to seek a meeting with the demonstrators, after which the strikes ended, but they can erupt anew if the demands of the workers are not met. The textiles industry in Al-Mahalla is one of the major industries in Egypt, employing some 75,000 people.

Other thorny issues await Sorour, including the issue of the workers sacked after January 2011, trying to find a mechanism for independent worker unions and a formula that both the businessmen and worker will agree on for the new labour law. The ministry is set to pass a controversial new labour law that covers issues such as workers’ right to organise and collectively bargain. Sorour declared on Monday that it is likely to be passed in two weeks’ time.

Sorour graduated from the Faculty of Commerce in 1979 and has worked in the field of manpower ever since. He was formerly first deputy for migration and foreign labour at the Ministry of Manpower. He headed the department of labour relations and collective bargaining at the ministry under outgoing Minister of Manpower Nahed Al-Ashri.

New laws regulating the work of foreigners in Egypt were introduced recently by the ministry.

“The noticeable low turnout in the parliamentary elections together with the absence of any political framework for those who voted is a sign of a genuine crisis in the political system. The low turnout is not a sign that people are bored of elections, as some would like to put it, but a sign that they are refusing to participate in elections designed to be ceremonial.”
Ibrahim Awad, Al-Shorouk

Hit below the belt
“Some officials and states issued statements about the Russian plane without having any technical or scientific evidence and without even waiting for the results of the investigations. They may have done this with good intentions, but they may have done it with the intention of harming Egypt by hitting it below the belt.”

“When the US, Britain and France were subjected to terrorism, all arguments were about combatting terrorism. But the situation is different with the Russian plane. The reaction ignored the need to combat terrorism in Egypt for a campaign against Egypt. Neither France nor Britain withdrew their citizens quite so quickly on similar occasions in other states. How could Britain forget about the Russian plane that crashed in Sudan?”
Akram Al-Kassas, Al-Youm Al-Sabei
“The problem that we are facing now is not in tourism only but in the accusation that our airports are not secure. Thus holding football games in Sharm El-Sheikh or calls to encourage internal tourism will not help. The solution is to reintroduce discipline to our airports and to acknowledge without stubbornness that there are various signs of negligence and corruption in every airport in our country.”
Yasser Ayoub, Al-Masry Al-Youm

Amending the constitution
“Does the new parliament have the right to amend the constitution after it is elected? Definitely. However, simple logic says one should not amend anything before trying it. And that is what the parliament should do as soon as it convenes. Besides, how can we amend a constitution that was passed by referendum less than a year ago? The rate of the turnout in the first round clearly shows that it will be less than that of the constitutional referendum. The turnout in the referendum was around 20 million, 98 per cent of whom voted yes to the constitution. It is difficult to believe that a similar percentage would now accept amendments to that same constitution.”
Wahid Abdel-Meguid, Al-Ahram

Restructuring needed
“There is one basic lesson that we need to learn from the dilemma we face as a result of the crash of the Russian plane: that our performance is inefficient. The performance, thinking and culture of various institutions and people are in need of restructuring.”
Mahmoud Khalil, Al-Watan

Egyptian Essence: LE0.5 billion of spice imports in 6 months

“The Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics stated that Egypt’s spice imports reached LE0.5 billion in the period from January to June. Meanwhile, apple imports cost Egypt LE1.2 billion from January to April.”
Al-Youm Al-Sabei


“A Russian plane crashed; Britain, which has nothing to do with the accident, declared that it will stop flights to Sharm El-Sheikh. It did so during the president’s visit in a way that can only be called rude. The question is: who will benefit from that crime, if there is proof that it is a crime? The US and the West will benefit, since it helps them to deter Russia from interfering in Syria and to destroy Egypt’s economy and force it to fall like other states in the region. Hence, the project of the fragmented Middle East could be implemented. It is the work of an intelligence agency that aims to redraw the map of the region.”
Nour Farahat

“If a plane crashes in Egypt and the news is not published on the first page of the newspapers, how do you explain that? If a plane crashes and the first statement would ascribe it to technical fault, how do you explain that? If a plane crashes and the president will continue travelling abroad and not change his schedule, how do you explain that? If a plane crashes and the minister of defence rather than the civil ministers visits the site of the accident, how do you explain that?” This is a much greater matter than a conspiracy.”
John Sourial


Mina Fayek @minafayek  
I can’t think of a moment more grim for #Egypt’s economy: currency devalued, prices hike, shops & homes flooded by rain & now tourism gone.

Kora Andrieu @KoraAndrieu  
Will parliamentary elections in #Egypt help promote #transitional justice?

Musa Ockeh @thehumbleservnt 
The rain that happened in Egypt and Jordan was a punishment from Allah because of what they do to Palestine.

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