Tensions erupted on Monday amid escalation of the land transport workers’ strike, following the arrest of the official spokesperson of the independent union for land transport workers.
The union had called earlier this week for a strike which would start with a partial strike throughout some of the 27 garages in the Greater Cairo region which includes the three governorates of Cairo, Giza and Qalyubia. A video released by Al-Masry Al Youm newspaper shows transport workers surrounding, official spokesperson Tarek Al-Behairy, refusing to hand him over to police.
Al-Behairy was arrested for inciting the workers to strike in the Imbaba garage for public transport buses and for disrupting operations of the whole Public Transport Authority but he says that the workers are refuting these accusations against him and are striking based on their own decisions.
In the video Al-Behairy is seen saying, “the workers are refusing to hand me over… We want to say that it seems that the police state is going to return again because we had been dealing with [President Mohamed] Morsy in good faith and we were on his side and supported him…”
The Imbaba garage in North Cairo was among the first garages to witness strikes which started as a partial strike on Saturday with plans to escalate to a full strike in all of greater Cairo’s garages on Sunday.
According to Al-Shorouk newspaper, at least nine more garages joined the strike after Al-Behairy was arrested. Strikers told the newspaper that they will continue to strike until the spokesperson is released and their demands are met.
According to the website of Al-Sabah newspaper, the workers’ demands include, the right to take sick days, a severance package, and a transfer of ownership of the Transport Authority to the Ministry of Transportation. The workers have taken the decision to engage in the strike after the failure of negotiations.
Similarly on Monday, Metro workers announced they will start an open-ended strike until their demands are met, according to Al-Badil newspaper. They reportedly held a stand at Sadat station on Monday morning. The strike was called for by the independent union for workers in the Metro and is demanding a top metro official and the payment of profits for the previous fiscal year.
In the academic sector, public school teachers across the country are engaging in a strike action to demand better working conditions and salaries. Administrative staff in Cairo University have also go on strike earlier this week demanding better working conditions including increased bonuses and rewards, as well as the removal of top university officials and the holding new elections.
The archeology sector opted for a hunger strike in front of the Egyptian Museum on Monday. According to Youm7’s website, tens of workers have started a strike demanding the removal of the current Minister of Antiquities, Mohamed Ibrahim Ali Said.