File - A teacher works at an iron workshop in Fagnoon art village in Saqqara, outside of Cairo, January 30, 2014. (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
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When Egypt announced plans for a minimum wage late last year, the government hoped to lift living standards and calm street turmoil that has helped topple two presidents in three years.Although one in four Egyptians lives below a poverty line of $1.65 a day, many workers say the 1,200 Egyptian pound ($170) minimum wage introduced in January is too little too late in a nation whose rulers have long favored the elite over the poor.Sisi is soon expected to announce he will run for president – and win.The minimum wage applies to 4.9 million public employees and will cost the state an extra 18 billion pounds a year, swelling a budget deficit set to hit around 200 billion pounds this year.Successive governments have hesitated to cut the subsidies for fear of public anger, mindful of the 1977 bread riots that challenged President Anwar Sadat.The government hopes the wage rise will appeal to people like Ali Abdelmegid, 33, who works 16 hours – school bureaucrat by day, truck driver by night – without escaping poverty.
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