The American University in Cairo (AUC) said Monday it “prides itself on being a good employer” in response to the continuing workers’ strike on its campus.
In a statement to Daily News Egypt, the AUC wrote that “the university has always endeavoured to ensure the best possible conditions for its employees and, despite the budget constraints faced by the university in recent years, the current work conditions at AUC compare favourably to similar posts in the market, making the university an employer of choice”.
Custodian workers started a strike on Sunday, stating they initiated their strike for a number of reasons, the most important of which is “the administration’s backing down on promises it had made in 2011”.
Rehab Saad, Director of Media Relations at AUC, said the university has undertaken austerity measures since 2011 due to a lack of international student admissions. The budget cuts she said “are indiscriminate, they are not just for the workers”.
She added that in the upcoming fiscal year, the university will be “back on track” and that there should be “a kind of raise”.
All AUC employees, Saad said, have been getting one-year contract extensions, instead of three-year extensions.
Waleed Shebl, a founding member of an independent worker’s syndicate for the university’s workers, said: “If other employees do not mind the campus policies, because they are richer, or for whatever reasons, then that is up to them. But they should not impose this on us.”
He added that after a 2010 workers’ strike, in which the AUC workers demanded the university apply minimum wages, the university sat with workers representatives, and both parties agreed on several points.
The most important of these points includes contract extensions and promotion policies. “They constantly claim they need more time. Five years is not enough time?!” the workers asked, referring to their 2010 strike.
Saad denied workers get insurance cuts, while workers claimed that they do get insurance and pension cuts. They added that, if promoted, they receive an extra EGP 70 that is then cut on the basis of insurance and pension costs.