January 2022 Building Resilience Blocks: How to Improve the Quality of Work for the Egyptian Construction Precariat?
Salma Hussein Research Manager Friedrich Ebert Stiftung MENA Regional Office

Abstract

The past two years have revealed the difficult living conditions of millions around the world experiencing compounded insecurities, especially of work and income. Within this context, this paper explores how the notion of precarity applies to informal construction workers in Egypt. It argues that their working conditions fail to satisfy the decent work indicators recommended by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and relevant literature.

The paper also assesses the Egyptian government’s intervention during the COVID-19 pandemic regarding informal irregular workers. The government pushed forward infrastructure projects in order to cushion the impact of the pandemic on unemployment. It also distributed cash transfers to irregular informal workers for six months. The paper explains why these measures were not enough.

Based on focus group discussions, an in-depth interview and an extensive study of ILO literature, the paper puts forward a set of recommendations with the aim of improving the quality of work under which the majority of workers in the construction sector in Egypt live.

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Research themes

EU Mediterranean Policies