Bus workers strike engulfs Greater Cairo

Ahram Online, Monday 26 Sep 2011

Bus drivers from the Greater Cairo Company join an eight-day-old strike waged by public-sector transport workers

public bus drivers
New public bus drivers join strike (Photo by Mai Shaheen)

A weeklong strike by public-sector bus drivers was joined on Monday by bus drivers from the Greater Cairo Company, run by the Cairo Transport Authority (CTA), according to Ali Fattouh, strike organiser and head of the independent syndicate for Public Transport Authority (PTA) workers.

Air-conditioned CTA buses, which generally serve middle-income Egyptians and students, are more comfortable and in better condition than Cairo's regular public buses.

On Monday, drivers vowed to maintain their ongoing sit-in - in front of the Cabinet building and in 24 bus depots throughout the capital - until their demands for better pay and improved working conditions are met.  

"The prime minister on Sunday promised to respond to our demands within hours," Fattouh told Ahram Online. "We're still waiting."

Fattouh added that most of Cairo's public buses were still languishing in their garages after bus drivers and ticket collectors in 24 out of Cairo's 25 bus stations had joined the strike action.

Last Thursday, Over 2,000 state-employed drivers and ticket collectors also staged protests in front of PTA headquarters in Cairo’s Nasr City district to register their discontent.

Aside from the PM's promise on Sunday, strikers say they have yet to be approached by government officials to begin negotiations. They also complain that PTA Chief Mona Mostafa had reneged on earlier promises to approve a 200 per cent salary hike for all public bus workers.

Strikers have threatened to mobilise tens of thousands of their colleagues in rural governorates in the event that their grievances aren't addressed.

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