Workers' rights

Local guides and drivers contracted for tours and excursion offers often have bad working conditions. The working conditions of local guides and drivers are in turn directly related to customer satisfaction and safety.

Driving and guiding personnel in tourism are often employed by specialised service providers rather than by tour operators directly. Often, those agencies do not comply with national legislation or international requirements for safety and labour standards. This concerns working hours, the content of working contracts, lack of sick leave entitlements, dismissal without warning or compensation as well as the payment of adequate salaries and tipping policies. Drivers’ and guides’ low wages often do not allow for a decent standard of living. Furthermore, drivers, guides and their helpers are often highly dependent on tips, meaning their income is highly volatile and dependent on occupancy and customer generosity.

In many cases, overtime worked by guides and drivers is neither compensated nor paid and annual leave is unpaid and can only be taken in low season. In peak season, there is often not sufficient time to rest between duties. Driving and guiding personnel’s long working hours also have a direct influence on travellers' safety.

For working conditions of porters, see risk card on Leisure and sports / Workers’ rights.

The Egyptian tourist guides’ union announced a strike in 2012, calling for better working conditions and employment opportunities. The strike was seen as a last resort after according to the union their demands had been repeatedly ignored by the Ministry of Tourism. Trigger for the strike announcement were the new provisions for costly mandatory training in order for guides to renew their licences, while high numbers of guides suffer from unemployment and only have low incomes. Furthermore, the union demanded health insurance coverage, the employment of Egyptian foreign language guides and representation at international conferences.  

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Take action

Policy and process

Supplier assessment

  • Assess the working conditions of staff working for excursion providers.

Training & capacity building

  • Train procurement staff on the issue of working conditions and how it can be addressed

Communication and reporting

  • Provide information to customers how to deal with drivers and guides, including advice on tipping.

Find more information on potential measures to take on the "take action" site. 

Learn more

Find more information in the Resource Centre.