Government fails to convince private sector to apply minimum wage

The government failed to negotiate with the private sector to implement a LE 1200 minimum wage system for its workers, as should be applied to government employees starting January, said a senior government official.
The official told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the government tried to convince representatives from the private sector to apply the new decree, but many refused, claiming it could burden the private sector with critical costs at a difficult economic time.
Planning Minister Ashraf Al Araby meanwhile said the National Wage Council is still studying the application of the act within the private sector. No decision has been made yet, he said.
"There is no objection to the application in principle. The discussions are about the most appropriate time to apply it without damaging various productive sectors, especially with current high unemployment rates," the minister explained.
Al Araby stressed that the minimum wage already exceeds the LE 1200 benchmark in a number of sectors, but the government is instead looking to pass a binding law across the board.
Some businesses still follow a 1984 law on minimum wages which has not been amended, and specifies just LE 35 as the minimum wage.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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