Following the fall of Mubarak, Egyptian health workers led a wave of strikes and protests demanding the removal of corrupt managers associated with the old regime, better pay and conditions, and the right to organise independent unions.
Manshiyet el-Bakri Hospital in Cairo has been at the forefront of these struggles. A strike at the beginning of March won wide support from hospital staff, and was followed by the creation of an independent union representing staff across a variety of professions and grades. The union’s founding meeting was held at the Journalists’ Union on 25 March 2011. The union brings together all hospital staff, uniting within its ranks doctors, nurses, clerical and manual workers who would normally be represented by separate unions. Pressure from the newly-created union on senior management soon brought dramatic results, with the resignation of the hospital director on 28 March and his replacement with a temporary director pending democratic elections for a successor.