Several officials in public banks submitted their resignations last week, in protest at the banking sector’s new maximum wage system, a resigned NBE official confirmed.
Banks affected by the mass resignation include the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), Banque Misr, Banque du Caire and the National Bank of Egypt (NBE),
The NBE official said the decision should have come gradually in order “not to harm the officials who have commitments that they have to sort out”. The maximum wage system stipulates that wages should be no larger than 35 times the minimum wage, or EGP 42,000.
Reports say that 140 officials have resigned, with the former NBE official stating that his bank has witnessed the resignation of 5 heads of departments within the bank, including the vice chairman.
The official added that the new wage is around 50% less than their original wages, and that the decision will lead to the “migration of public banking experts to the private banks that will pay more”.
Debate over the maximum wage has been ongoing for years. In December 2011, then-Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri announced the implementation of maximum wages in the public and private sectors at 35 times the minimum wage. The implementation was to start in January 2012, with exemptions for the banking and petroleum sectors. However, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) issued a decree a week later setting the maximum wage at EGP 50,000, in contrast to the previous decision by El-Ganzouri, leaving some confusion over the law’s parameters.
Both decisions were set to be implemented in January 2012, but were not carried out. However, former Finance Minister Momtaz El-Saeed said in February 2012 that maximum wages will be implemented in public banks in accordance with the minimum wage in the banking sector. He said this would be “much higher than the minimum wage for public administration”.
The current maximum wage decision was passed by the interim government in November 2013, with then-Minister of Social Solidarity Ahmed Boraie exempting public banks and oil companies from the maximum income law.
However, in July 2014, the government’s official legislative gazette published the regulations for setting maximum wages, with no exemptions for the judicial system, police forces or banking sectors. These regulations indicate that maximum wages will be applied to CBE, Nasser Social Bank (NSB), National Investment Bank (NIB) and Principal Bank for Development and Agricultural credit (PBDAC).
Last week, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi confirmed that the maximum wage system is being applied, stressing that it applies to all public sectors in the state. Report of the resignations in public banks came on the same day of the president’s announcement.
Directors of public banks are estimated to receive salaries that range between EGP 150,000 and EGP 180,000.