ALO launches 41st session as unemployment issues come to forefront
Minister of manpower Nahed Ashry - YOUM7

CAIRO: The Arab Labor Organization (ALO) launched its 41st session in Cairo Sunday, which included the participation of 21 Arab states, will last until Sept. 21 and is expected to elect a new organization general director to replace Ahmed Luqman, who has requested to step down early from his post in May 2015.

The Egyptian Ministry of Manpower said that 22 international organizations will be present, as well as different parties of the Egyptian production sector, including the Egyptian Trade Union Federation, the Federation of Egyptian Industries and the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce.

The ALO held a press conference in Cairo on Tuesday in the presence of General Director Ahmed Luqman and Minister of Manpower Nahed Hasan Ashry to announce the launch of its 41st Conference in Egypt. Luqman had declared that the unemployment rate in Arab states had reached 17 percent from 2011 to 2013, with nearly 3 million unemployed.

Since unemployment seems to be theme of the next phase for the ALO, the minister declared that 82,000 jobs have been provided for youth, and called on them to accept low skill jobs instead of staying unemployed. However, she stated that there were jobs to meet various labor market skills in minimum, medium and high academic fields.

Job vacancies, in coordination with the Ministry of Youth, are available in 466 private companies according to a statement by the Ministry of Manpower, Youm7 reported on Sept. 12.

Addressing young journalists at the conference on Sept. 9, Ashry asked, “Why is it that young people constantly seek jobs in the private sector or career opportunities abroad?”

What happened following the job announcements might have been the answer she was looking for.

The next day at the conference, Al-Masry Al-Youm interviewed several applicants who stated that the jobs were either too far from Cairo and had extremely low salaries of around only 700 EGP ($97) a month. Some also required previous experience that the unemployed could not meet.

A law school graduate said that after filling out the application he was asked by a ministry employee if he preferred to be a cashier, security guard or sales representative for Carrefour—jobs which are known to have low wages.

Most available vacancies are in textiles and clothes manufacturing, security, cleaning and food and beverage services in hotels and restaurants—all known to have salaries usually lower than 1,500 EGP a month.

In another experience, Pakinam Moheeb, a young teaching assistant in the faculty of foreign languages in one of the private universities in Cairo, shared her story with The Cairo Post. She said she responded to an announcement on a job vacancy at the University of Menoufia in September 2013, which was cut from a newspaper and posted on one of the Egyptian websites advertising jobs.

“I called the university to obtain more information on the application requirements as I wanted to apply for a teacher position, but they informed me that they had not posted any vacancies,” Moheeb said. “Then they called back and said that indeed they had made an announcement.”

With some back and forth phone calls they finally informed her the job was always meant to go to one of the university’s own graduates, the job announcement was just a legal protocol they had to follow and that it was common that vacancies were only for the graduates of the university.

“They could have said so before the hassle,” Moheeb said.

Additional reporting by Ashraf Azouz.

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