Public transport workers go on strike

Marwa Hussein, Thursday 10 Feb 2011

Thousands of public transport workers go on strike today demanding better pay and working conditions

More than 62000 workers from the Public Transport Authority entered an open strike today to join the protests of the 6 main garages that started yesterday.

The workers, who have a list of demands related to their salaries and working conditions, also announced their solidarity with the protestors in Tahrir square and their demands, including Mubarak stepping down and constitutional change.

The anger of the workers, who are asking for a minimum wage of LE1200 per month, as many activists and NGOs have advocated for since 2009, escalated after the authority's chairman said in a TV interview that the minimum wage in the Public Transport Authority is LE1500 per month, a falsehood according to the workers and employees.

“I have worked here for 15 years and my basic salary is LE300 and my whole salary doesn’t reach the LE500,” says Ali Fatouh, one of the workers on strike.

Pay rolls in Egypt are divided into two parts: the basic salary and bonuses. The former is typically no more than half the monthly bonus. Annual increment is based solely on the basic salary, pension insurance too.

“I graduated from the commerce faculty and I work as a service worker, my salary doesn’t reach LE 400, my basic salary is LE151. A 15 percent increase promised few days ago by the government means LE22 (less than 4$) per month” says Salah Mohamed.

The workers accuse the administration of corruption and distributing the authority's revenue among themselves. “The monthly bonus of the chairman is said to be LE163,000 per month, those figures go down to reach LE35,000 for the head of administration,” assures Mohamed.

The workers on strike also complain that their pensions, which the administration deducts from their salaries has not been paid to the pension authority in years. They also denounced the deterioration of the health care they receive.


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