Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb has met representatives of protesting employees of the Customs and Tax Authorities to discuss their demands regarding the newly issued Civil Service Law.
At least 2,000 state employees from the Customs and Tax Authorities held a demonstration against the law on 10 August in front of the Press Syndicate in Downtown Cairo.
Mehleb told the representatives that the Civil Service Law came in response to “public demand” from those who complain about the “slackness” and bureaucracy of the government apparatus, and that it is an important step towards administrative reform.
“There will be no work termination or reduction of salaries,” Mehleb noted.
Mehleb promised to study the protestors’ suggestions through a committee of experts, assuring that the code of conduct of the law will not be issued before extensive discussions with stakeholders.
The Egyptian Workers Customs Authority said in a statement on the day of the protest: “Thousands of the authority’s workers from different governorates gathered to stop the oppression that was imposed on us after the implementation of the Civil Service Law. We want to affirm that we are aware of the serious current events the country is going through. We are not looking for extra privileges, but for basic rights.”
The protest can be considered the biggest since the 30 June protests in 2013. The organisers said they applied for permission to protest, a request which was denied.
In response to the protest and rumours of the government meeting to cancel the law, Minister of Planning Ashraf El-Araby told state media there are no intentions to amend the law, adding that the law is “flexible and simple”.
The Civil Service Law was issued in March, shortly before the Economic Summit that was held in Sharm El-Sheikh.
The new law presents a new system for salaries, and stated that the incentives should be approved by the Prime Minister as a fixed percentage of the total salary every year, according to the different positions.
The new law has also cancelled the financial compensation for vacation days, except if the vacation request is not approved by the administration. Moreover, it has cancelled the promotion of any employee on an unpaid vacation.
According to Minister of Finance Hany Kadry Dimian, the unlimited increase in incentives in recent years went from EGP 83bn per year during fiscal year (FY) 2009/2010 to EGP 218bn in the new FY 2015/2016 budget.