Workers of the Transport Authority in Alexandria launched a strike in Sidi Bishr’s public transportation garage Saturday demanding the application of the minimum income, their end of service bonuses, and a EGP 200 raise.
Independent Transport Workers Union Spokesman Tarek Al-Behiry asserted that all the demands of the Alexandrian transport workers are legitimate, adding that Cairo workers support their demands.
Cairo transport workers, meanwhile, last week halted their strike until the end of April to give the new government of Ibrahim Mehleb a chance to make reforms that would please the workers.
Al-Behiry said that the workers’ conditions would be improved if the Transport Authority returned to its previous position as subordinate to the Ministry of Transport.
Dozens of workers of workers from Tanta Linen and Shebin Spinning demonstrated for over a month against government negligence of their demands to return to work.
A statement issued Saturday by the Workers Against Privatisation and the Workers Coordination Committees lamented the current conditions for workers at Tanta Linen and Shebin Spinning.
A statement in solidarity with the protesting workers was made by several student movements, including the students of the Revolutionary Socialists, Revolutionary Front, 6 April Democratic Front, El-Midan Student Group, Misr Al-Qawia and others.
The statement called for “collaboration efforts” between the workers and students to pressure the regime to meet their demands, since they “share the same suffering”.
The most recent wave of worker strikes started in February with Mahalla Spinning and Weaving workers, who demanded receiving their late annual bonus. When payment of salaries was delayed, the workers’ demands then escalated to include the call for minimum income and the resignation of the Chairman of the Textile Holding Company Foad Abdel Aleem.
Mahalla workers, who form the majority of the public sector workers, suspended their strike for two months starting late February after an agreement was reached with then Minister of Investment Osama Saleh that their demands would be met by then.
The main demands of the striking workers and employees of the public sector are receiving minimum income and the payment of late bonuses. The strikes include workers from seven spinning and weaving companies, the Post Authority, the Transport Authority, employees of the Notary Authority, and others.
A number of officials had accused the striking workers of being incited by the Muslim Brotherhood, a charge strongly refuted by the workers’ representatives.
The workers’ dilemma remains unresolved, especially after statements from the former Minister of Manpower Kamal Abu Eita, who said applying the minimum income plan to the public sector workers was not within his jurisdiction, and instead the job of the High Council of Wages.
The striking workers had long been upset with Abu Eita’s performance and were negotiating with Egyptian Trade Union Federation head Gebaly Al-Maraghy who is conveying the workers’ demands to the different ministries, including the newly appointed Ministers of Investment and Man Power.
Mesbah Qotb, the finance minister’s adviser for public outreach, told the Daily News Egypt in late February that Egyptian workers in various public sectors – including the Postal Authority and the Public Transportation Authority – are not eligible for the minimum income system.
Qotb clarified that only employees working in the collections units of the ministries, government localities and service authorities, fall under the categories of those who will receive the announced minimum income increases.