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Unions rally workers against controversial new Egyptian laws

Hundreds of employees from Egypt’s Workers University, a private university, began a strike and sit-in because salaries of employees have not been paid in the past two months, as Egypt approves controversial amendments to the law on the public sector.

On Oct. 5, hundreds of employees from Egypt’s Workers University, a private university with 14 branches across the country, began a strike and sit-in to protest the fact that some 4,000 workers had not received their salaries in September amidst rumors that October salaries would also not be paid. The employees’ patience had run out after the management’s failure to disburse salaries on time since May, and they asked it to step down and be replaced.

The Egyptian Trade Union Federation, owner of the university, attributed the delays to the COVID-19 crisis. Yet according to a statement from the Center for Trade Union and Workers Services (CTUWS), a nongovernmental organization for independent unions, the origins of this crisis go back to 2015 when the university was banned from granting baccalaureate degrees, a move that led to a severe drop in the number of students. Since then, employees have not received bonuses and other work incentives such as pensions and insurance, according to the CTUWS.

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