Four protesting workers at Cairo Governorate's Public Transport Authority started an open-ended hunger strike on Thursday in solidarity with other colleagues who have been striking for more than a week. Their demands include higher salaries and for the authority to be affiliated to the Ministry of Transport rather than the governorate.
Workers at the authority's garages in the Mezallat and Imbaba districts had entered a full-scale strike last Saturday that coincided with the official beginning of the new school year. Other garages entered a partial strike.
Ali Fattouh, who leads an independent syndicate of public transport workers, told Al-Masry Al-Youm they are giving the state two days to respond to their demands, unveiling plans to march with their buses to the presidential palace and the Cabinet building on Thursday.
“We cannot be passive while the government is ignoring our demands, tainting our reputation, and detaining us,” he said.
Sayed Nabil, a unionist figure and one of those on hunger strike, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that he, along with other seven colleagues at the authority's Al-Nasr garage, had begun a strike in solidarity with other strikers. “After the authority decided to reward those who declined to take part in the strike, we became sure the administration will adopt stick and carrot policy, but we will never let down our protesting workers for rewards,” he added.
Mohamed Mounir, another leading figure in the independent union, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that some workers at the Teeba Garage decided to go back on strike after they were met with official indifference.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Fathy, a driver at the Imbaba Garage, denied that workers had ended their strike. “The administration attempted to end the strike in this garage. They let out six buses driven by authority engineers to falsely claim that drivers had ended their strike.”
The Public Transport Authority had threatened the striking workers with penalties. Its director, Mona Mostafa, said she plans to enforce the law criminalizing strikes.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm