CAIRO: The staff of the State Notary Office will protest outside the Ministry of Justice Thursday in demand for “equality between the ministry’s sectors,” board member of the Advisers of the State Notary Office Association (ASNOA) Mo’men Khairallah told The Cairo Post Friday.
The notary office, a sector of the Ministry of Justice, is responsible for registering most official records including land titles, a service that requires a fee.
Its staff extended their two-week suspension of their strike which began Feb. 18 for another two, in order to provide ample time for Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab to reach an agreement regarding their financial demands, according to a Friday statement by the ASNOA.
The staff is demanding financial equality between all sectors of the ministry; including the Forensic Medicine Authority and the Technical Advisers Department, which conducts technical reports requested by the judiciary. They have been demanding improved conditions since before the 2011 revolution.
Financial equality includes wages, incentives, bonuses and allowances, Khairallah said, adding that there is a 1,500-2,000 EGP (U.S. $216-287) difference between the monthly income of a notary employee and employees in other sectors.
“The State Notary Office yields revenue of 700 million EGP yearly to the Ministry of Justice, and the entire expenses of the ministry is 750 million EGP,” Khairallah said, adding “although no other sector remotely matches the revenue we yield to the ministry, we are still treated as inferiors.”
The State Notary Office is the Ministry of Justice’s largest sector with 8,800 employees. Treating this sector as an equal to the other sectors would affect the incentives of the ministry’s judges, each of whom receive at least 200,000 EGP annually, while a notary receives 20,000 EGP, according to Khairallah.
“The huge difference in income is unacceptable in a country where people ask for social justice and a minimum and maximum wage law,” Khairallah said.
“The State Notary Authority is a prestigious authority whose decisions are binding even on judges, but because its employees are not even given transportation allowances, they are compelled to be transported in their clients’ cars to inspect a disputed land. The clients then feel as if they own the employees,” Khairallah said.
Khairallah added that law No.5 of the year 1964 stipulates that the head of the notary office take the oath before the president of the republic, giving him a ministerial status that the Ministry of Justice cannot expel.
The last time Egypt applied this law was in the 80’s, Khairallah said, adding that the Ministry of Justice has since “seconded” the head of notary office rather than “appointed” him, meaning he can be replaced at any time.