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Egypt: A Strike for Minimum Wages

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Egypt, Digital Activism, Economics & Business, Freedom of Speech, Governance, Human Rights, Labor, Politics, Protest, Technology

During the wave of protests, sit-ins and demonstrations demanding better living life conditions by a wide spectrum of people who work in Egypt, a court ruling was issued [1] to force the Egyptian government to set a minimum living wage for both private and public sector workers. This decision, which is numbered 21606, requires the Prime Minister to implement the measure or be sent to prison for failing to conform with a court ruling.

The Egyptian Center for for Economic and Social Rights [2] (ECESR) held the legal proceedings in this case representing Nagui Rashad, an Egyptian worker, acting on articles [3] from the Egyptian constitution [4], the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [5], Arab Charter on Human Rights [6] and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [7].

On 2 May, Cairo was set to witness a nationwide workers’ [8] strike to demand an increase in the national minimum wage. A group of activists [9] made a website/blog [10] to promote the strike and cover it, as well as collect all social media material into one place, called http://21606.info [10]. . This refers to the court ruling number. The site managers used Twitter for organizing and promoting the event.

Mohamed Gaber, an Egyptian blogger [11] and graphic designer [12], designed a poster including information about the court ruling:


Malek [14], an Egyptian activist and blogger, invited volunteers to give workers technical and security training:

@MaLek [15]: تدريب امنى وتقني, للنشطاء والعمال بالمركز المصري الرابعه عصرا, وذلك استعداد للإعتصام http://21606.info/node/29 [16] #2maystrike [17]

Security and technical training for activists and workers at the Egyptian Center at 4 pm, preparing for the strike.

Ahmed Fares, another blogger [18], describes the importance of the strike:

@alFaris [19]: خطوة عشان من حقنا حياة حرة كريمة #2maystrike [17]

The strike is an important step because it is our right to live a decent life.

Abdel Qader Nada [20], the General Secretary of the Independent Union of Real Estate Tax Authority Employees [21], is one of many workers who joined Twitter [22] to be able to cover the strike live.

A video entitled A little Justice goes a long way – Our Right to A Minimum Living Wage in Egypt, was also made by the activists behind the strike website explaining the idea behind the strike:

One of the new trends in the political/activism arena is that Egyptians, celebrities (actors, TV hosts, etc) and others, are also doing video promos promoting the strike. This Vimeo channel [23] has many video contributions supporting the strike.

Khaled Abo ElNaga, an Egyptian actor, appears in this video voicing his support:

To follow the strike updates and news, check out the website [24] and the Twitter hashtag #2MayStrike [25].