Board member of the Egyptian Federation for Construction and Building Contractors Mohamed Abdel Raouf has demand the state to halt construction activities nationwide to protect the workers in the sector from the coronavirus outbreak, pointing out that such decisions cannot be made individually.
Abdel Raouf said the move should be studied well, elaborating that it would necessitate that construction companies postpone accepting new projects for six months.
He noted that contracting companies have commitments and delivery dates for their projects.
Moreover, contractors have thousands of labourers who need to work to secure appropriate income and it would be the companies’ responsibility to pay them regularly even if they were forced to reduce working hours or days.
Abdel Raouf called on companies to take the necessary precautions in every construction site that guarantee the safety of workers.
On Monday, MP Mohamed Abou El Enein officially demanded Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly to suspend all construction activities for three weeks, in line with the preventive and precautionary measures of the country to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Abou El Enein pointed out that the contracting sector is characterised by intensive labour which poses a big threat to the safety of the society.
He stressed that contracting companies should continue paying salaries for their workers during the potential suspension without any cuts, whether for regular or irregular employment, in coordination with ministries of manpower and social solidarity.
Abou El Enein said that staying at home and complying with the instructions of the Ministry of Health is a national duty that is necessitated by the current circumstances, and the Egyptian people must help the state to contain the crisis.
Major construction companies have submitted a request to Minister of Finance Mohamed Moeit to postpone income tax for fiscal year 2019/20. They further demand the state to partially pay for social insurance of their workers until the end of the year.
Minister of Housing Assem EL-Gazzar said on Monday that he agreed with officials of the three main contracting companies operating in New Alamein city, to take all precautionary and preventive measures to protect all workers from infection with coronavirus, and follow Ministry of Health’s instructions.
The minister stressed that the first priority is to protect lives and health of all workers, calling on contracting companies to take necessary precautions and reduce number of workers in construction sites to 50% without cutting salaries.
Moreover, El-Gazzar recommended companies that cannot provide necessary measures to ensure the safety of workers, to halt operation for two weeks, and obliged the subcontractors to pay 50% of wages in case of halting activities.