Industry Update/National Response
- July 2021: Egypt aims to vaccinate 40% of its population against coronavirus by the end of 2021. Over 2.5 million people have been vaccinated, from a total of 6 million people who signed up on the government’s registration platform. The first batch of nationally-manufactured vaccines will be ready by the end of July.
- June 2021: Egypt lifted restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19, including easing the early closure of shops and restaurants. It completed vaccinating workers in all hotels in Southern Sinai and Red Sea provinces and plans to vaccinate all residents of the two resorts of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheik.
- May 2021: The government has been rolling out a nationwide vaccination programme since January, and approximately 1 million people have been vaccinated so far. Egypt expects to receive 4.9 million doses of different types of coronavirus vaccines in May. Large gatherings and concerts were banned in the first half of May. Some venues including hotels have been required to operate at limited capacity throughout the month.
Factory Service Update
- The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Egypt has slowed the pace of Better Work Egypt’s activities and services, which were launched in March 2020. Still, some 40 firms have so far enrolled in the first phase and have started to receive Better Work factory engagement services. More than half of some 23,000 workers employed in these plants are women.
- Egypt has experienced a “new normal” following the COVID-19 disruptions. Better Work has adapted to the new situation by providing both in-factory services and online/virtual sessions. Throughout the crisis, Egypt’s Ministry of Manpower, Better Work Egypt and their partners have mostly focused on the implementation and supervision of preventive measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus at the workplace and across the factory floor.
- In collaboration with the Ministry of Manpower and local partners, the programme has developed a COVID-19 precautionary manual. Thirty thousand printed copies have been distributed to tripartite constituents and enterprises so far, in an effort to normalize COVID-19 precautionary protocol.
- Better Work and the Ministry of Manpower joined together for the creation of COVID-19 awareness posters to shed light on symptoms and prevention measures at the workplace. Posters have been shared through the ministry’s website as well as through the Federation of Egyptian Industries and workers’ organizations platforms and their respective members.
- Better Work’s on-site services have been delivered across the country’s factories since late August, 2020, with no disruption. Prior to August, services were delivered virtually.
- Following a first round of advisory sessions that happened in a virtual form during the country’s lockdown in 2020, Enterprise Advisors have been conducting in-person visits for both, advisory services and assessments with no recorded disruption. Better Work Enterprise Advisors have started to begin collaborating with OSH committees inside the factories during advisory services.
- Training service: Training courses have been introduced with both on-site and online/e-learning courses. These courses were primarily focused on Occupational Safety and Health topics, such as general OSH risk assessment, roles and responsibilities of the OSH committee, accident investigation procedures, and fire safety.
Additional Better Work Activities
- The larger ILO project of which Better Work is part and its partners made their most crucial step forward in November 2020. The Ministry of Manpower established a mechanism for grievances to ease trade union registrations. The creation of a national mechanism with the task of receiving trade union complaints related to these matters of contention and the initiative to fix them represents a crucial step for the harmonization of relations among the tripartite constituents.
- Three tripartite meetings have been organized so far, bringing together the country’s government, employer, and worker representatives. About 40 participants joined in each event, which focused on the progress made by the project, measured against the work plan drafted after the first tripartite meeting. These included identifying suitable indicators to measure the project ’s progress and problems linked to the trade union registration process, improving the tripartite dialogue at the national level, identifying the support needs of the constituents, and discussing the progress of the Better Work Egypt programme.
- Formal discussions about the Better Work Zero Tolerance Protocol (ZTP) mechanism to report serious violations and threats to workers’ lives is currently ongoing between Better Work and the Ministry of Manpower. Through this protocol, the government authorities are informed about any critical issues in order to take immediate action.