Egypt bus drivers block Cabinet HQ street, declare an open-ended sit-in

Ahram Online, Saturday 1 Oct 2011

Public transport workers refuse government request to suspend two-week strike with hundreds demonstrating in front of Cabinet building

Bus drivers demonstration
Public Transport Workers demonstrate at Cabinet (Photo:Bassam Al-Zoghby)

Thousands of public transport workers demonstrated Saturday in front of the Cabinet building, saying their demands are being ignored despite their now two-week long strike. Workers threatened to escalate measures and start an open-ended sit-in.

The government has been 'stuborn', ignoring the strike and refusing to negotiate until the strike is suspended, head of independant transport workers union told Ahram Online. Ali Fattouh added that workers are declaring an open ended sit-in and are now blocking the street infront of the Egyptian cabinet headquarters.

According to Mostafa Basiouny of the Independent Federation for Workers Unions, several meetings were held on Friday between representatives and Minister of Manpower Ahmed Hassan El-Borai, but they failed to reach agreement.

Meetings planned for Saturday were cancelled.

Mohamed Mounir, one of the public transportation workers participating in the strike, says there are 27 garages that include 45,000 workers still on strike. Eleven workers were already on hunger strike.

El-Borai told website that the public transport association loses approximately LE1 million daily due to the strike.

The strike's demands included that the ministry applies a 200 per cent raise to their basic monthly salary in order to allow them to reach the LE700 ($117) per month minimum wage that Prime Minister Essam Sharaf promised to all public sector workers in spring.

Workers also demand a guaranteed 100-month salary bonus for retiring employees, upgrading Egypt's public sector bus fleet, and new work uniforms.

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