29 Sep 2011

Cairo bus workers: ‘No deal, the strike goes on’

Mass meetings in bus garages across Cairo were reported to have rejected a deal agreed between leaders of the independent union, the Minister of Labour and the management of the Public Transport Authority, Al-Ishtaraki newspaper reported on 28 September.
The deal was hammered out in a 3-hour meeting the previous day, which saw Minister of Labour Ahmad al-Borai storm out of the negotiations after one of the workers, Fuad Salih accused the current government of following the same policies as the old regime.
 In a heated exchange, Salih told the minister “We were patient with the old regime for 30 years, and then they turned out to be a bunch of thieves. Now, Mr Minister, you want us to be patient again! Are you having a laugh?” Al-Borai called security to throw Salih out of the room, but stormed out himself after others intervened to try and calm the situation down.
According to reports of the agreement released on 27 September, the Public Transport Authority and Ministry of Finance agreed to a timetable for studying workers’ demands for improvements in pay, bonuses and conditions, and to look into their complaints about the poor condition of the bus fleet.
However, when independent union negotiators returned to mass meetings at the garages, the majority of strikers rejected the deal, and insisted that the strike continue until their demands are met.

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