Hamdeen Sabahi is Egypt’s leftist presidential candidate running against retired Army General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi. Leftists in Egypt portray laborers, all laborers, as hard working men of honor. Our socialists incessantly urge the government to stand by the blue-collars first and foremost.
I only deal with workers when I want my apartment painted or need any electricity-related work done. In my experience, the greatest bulk of them are not punctual, never meet deadliness, and are fantastic procrastinators. I gave some of my friends this simple survey question:-
On a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being workers (I.e. plumbers, mechanics, carpenters, and house painters) are decent men of honor, and 10 being workers only care about their pay regardless of anything, how would you rate workers?
And the answers came as follows:- 3, 7, 7, 7, 10, 10, 9, 5
Of course this is by no means indicative of what Egyptians think of workers, please feel free to state your opinions in the comments below.
For a bigger picture, I asked two of my friends who deal with workers daily their opinion on Egyptian laborers. Rami Abbas, a Construction Contractor, had this to say,
Some are hard workers and are a pleasure to work with, but most of them don’t give their work the proper time nor attention. I work in general construction and deal with all sorts of workers. When paying is based on the work done (e.g. finishing a villa), they tend to work hard and give you what you pay for. But if the worker is getting paid daily in chunks, regardless of the work produced, you will not get more than 25 percent of the work done unless the worker is supervised all the time. And I’m talking about professional or semi-professional workers, the ones who know what they are doing, because there are also the super dumb, super useless laborers who can easily mess up their assigned jobs, costing you time and money. Trouble is, if the masons are not paid daily, in small installments, some tend not to show up.
Amr Abdul-Wehab, an Electrical Engineer who oversees 12 workers during his shift, tells me they are extremely creative when it comes to finding excuses to take leaves and procrastinate. When they do work, however, the results are always astounding.
The blue-collars are not saints nor devils, just ordinary Egyptians sharing the general state of malaise and apathy with the rest of us. Is backing them more important to Egypt’s economy than assisting mid-middle to upper-middle class citizens? I would love to hear why and how.
But becoming hostages to the demands of socialists – focusing all the government’s efforts on the welfare of the poor and blue-collar citizens- is simply not a viable option.