The tourist guide union announced they will strike for three days on 15, 16 and 17 November, demanding better work conditions and employment opportunities.
The head of the tourist guide syndicate, Mo’taz Al-Sayed, stated in a press conference on Saturday at the union’s headquarters that the strike is the guides’ last resort after their demands have been repeatedly ignored by Ministry of Tourism, according to state-owned Al-Ahram.
“We’ve knocked on all doors with our demands, only to be met with silence, even though our demands require no money,” Hisham Al-Shattury, secretary general of the tourist guide union, said.
Al-Shattury submitted his resignation from the union on Wednesday and vowed not to take it back until a portion of the guides’ demands are met.
The tourist guides are demanding the cancellation of manadatory training they must pay for in order to renew their license.
“We aren’t against the idea of the training” Al-Shattury said, “but we refuse to pay so much money for an obligatory and illegal training when we’ve been suffering from unemployment following the January 2011 revolution.”
The high unemployment rate tourist guides have been suffering from for the past year and a half is not supplemented by any monetary assistance by the Ministry of Tourism.
“Tourist guides in Jordan are paid $ 100 per day, our daily wage doesn’t exceed EGY 50,” Al-Shattury said, adding that the tourist guides’ pension amounts to a sum of as little as EGY 200.
The guides are also demanding a health insurance. “If a tourist bus has an accident, the tourist guides are insured and so is the bus driver, even the bus is insured; only the tourist guide is not insured and gets no compensation whatsoever.”
They also request amending law number 121 for the year 1983 in a manner fit to grant the union independence from the Ministry of Tourism. At the moment the union is restricted by its affiliation to the ministry.
Hiring only Egyptians as foreign language-speaking tourist guides is also among the demands the guides are calling for through their strike.
“There are 16,000 Egyptian tourist guides who cover all foreign languages,” Al-Shattury said, “why hire foreigners when Egyptians are in dire need of getting employed?”
The guides are in addition demanding representation in international conferences.
The tourist guides’ union in Aswan announced their solidarity with the strike, saying they shall take part in the strike in tourist sites in Edfu, Commumbo, Philae, the missing obelisk, the High Dam, the Nubian temples and Abu Simbil temple, reported independent daily Al-Shorouk.
“I agree that the tourist guides demands are valid and that their wages are not in the least bit impressive,” Marwa Ghazy, operation manager at Royal Dream tourist guide company, said, “nevertheless, we call on tourist guides to be patient instead of striking; take a stand without stopping the business.”
Almost all the ten tourist guides working with Royal Dream shall not take part in the strike, Ghazy said. “How can you strike when you’re not even working due to the tourist guide employment lull?”
The tourist guides have been on several protests before, especially after tourism declined following the January 2011 revolution.