Train drivers strike paralyses Egyptian railways for second day

Ahram Online, Monday 8 Apr 2013

Inconclusive talks between Railway Authority and drivers demanding higher wages halts train traffic on major lines country-wide

main station
Passengers wait as a strike by drivers suspends train traffic in Egypt at the main station in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)

A nationwide strike by train drivers continued to paralyse Egypt's rail traffic on all major lines for a second day in a row on Monday, as negotiations between workers and authorities failed to reach a solution.

The strike began on Sunday after train drivers refused a 10 percent pay raise beginning in May, offered by Minister of Transportation Hatem Abdel-Latif in a meeting with the railway workers union on Saturday afternoon.

The workers' demands have now escalated to include the dismissal of Hussein Zakaria, head of the Railway Authority, in addition to financial demands, according to statements made by train driver Ramadan Mokhtar to Ahram's Arabic website.

The Railway Authority has been in continued talks with the discontented party.

"The authorities have been holed up in a meeting with workers representatives, as well the police, and the army to reach a solution," Railway Authority spokesperson Nagwa Albeir told Ahram Online.

According to Albeir, the drivers, who number around 4,000, are demanding an addition of LE300 to their monthly salaries.

Minor lines are operating on the routes of Ain Shams-Suez, Cairo-Manfalout, and Fayoum-Wasty, according to a press statement made by the Railway Authority on Monday. 

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