Transport strike enters second day, attempts to resolve issue fail

Public transport workers in Cairo continued their strike for a second consecutive day on Monday, stopping traffic at all 27 Public Transport Authority bus garages.

The protesters said they would continue the strike until all their demands have been met. Their demands include a bonus equal to 100 months of pay, transferring control of the transport authority to the Transportation Ministry, improving working conditions for technical workers, and improving workers’ medical care. They are also asking that officials set a timetable for remaining demands.

Tarek Mohamed al-Sayed, the head of the delegation currently negotiating with the government, said a number of transportation officials contacted him and told him they agree to grant a one-and-a-half-month bonus to the workers’ annual bonus, similar to their colleagues’ in Alexandria, provided the strike is ended. Sayed said the workers refused the offer.
He went on to say that the protesters will participate in the funeral procession of Pope Shenouda III out of “respect for the Pope’s significance and in order to share in the sorrows of our Coptic brothers.”

The workers threatened to begin a hunger strike if their demands are not met. They raised banners saying, “No retreat, no surrender … The Transportation Ministry is our final word,” “The PTA demands an end of service bonus equal to 100 months of pay,”  and “The PTA calls for social justice (bread — freedom) and the dismissal of the Board of Directors.”

One worker told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the transport authority “deliberately failed to respond to the workers’ demands since the 4 October strike, which ended after LE128 million was allocated by former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf’s cabinet. But only LE45 million of the mentioned sum reached the PTA.”

The worker pointed out that the reason behind the strike was the “failure of the negotiations between the workers’ representatives and Manpower Minister Fathy Fekry on 12 February, during which Cairo Governor Abdel Qawi Khalifa recommended the consideration of bonuses for PTA workers, but on which no decision has been issued to date.”  

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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