Six labour figures in the Public Transportation Authority (PTA) in Cairo were arrested on Saturday on accusations of inciting workers to strike, according to their families.
Workers told Daily News Egypt that police personnel are stationed in several garages from which the buses start their route.
The workers said that the arrested colleagues were calling for a strike if certain economic demands were not met. A flyer distributed among the workers demanded that the authority be run under the Ministry of Transportation, that the head of the authority’s medical affairs sectors be sacked, and the issuance of several compensations and bonuses.
Some workers were discussing the possibility of holding a strike next January, if the demands were not met.
After the arrest of the six leaders, the workers gave the government two days to release their detained colleagues, after which the workers would resort to escalation.
The authority is currently under the umbrella of the Cairo governorate—a placement the workers rejected. They demanded to be part of either the Ministry of Transportation or the armed forces.
In 2012, the government considered plans to convert the authority into a holding company, in order to increase its revenues and solve a current funding gap.
Converting the PTA into a holding company was one of a series of demands brought up during recent labour strikes. Low wages, the deterioration of PTA’s assets, in addition to its failure to consistently renew and update its fleet of trucks, were all factors leading workers to call for privatisation.