Protests and strikes by workers at Cairo airport over the last week forced the ruling military council in Egypt to appoint a civilian head of the airport for the first time in fifty years. A lightning strike by airport workers on 20 July, during which hundreds of strikers blocked the main road to Cairo, called for higher wages and an end to the practice of appointing military figures to leading positions in the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the administration of the airport. In direct negotiations with strikers’ representatives, Airforce Commander Reda Hafez, a member of the military council which has ruled Egypt since February, agreed to meet the workers’ demands.
Meanwhile protests elsewhere in the airport continued on 25 July, with groups of workers attempting to close the departure and arrivals halls, according to Egyptian press reports. The authorities were said to have declared a state of emergency in the airport.
Events at the airport follow the founding of a large number of independent unions representing different grades of airport workers, including unions representing pilots, EgyptAir maintenance workers, civil aviation security personnel, EgyptAir ground staff and air traffic controllers. Airport workers rallied in Tahrir Square on 16 July, which has been occupied by protestors since 8 July, and marched to the cabinet offices to make their demands.
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The Unite union at Gatwick Airport wishes to send a message of solidarity to the airport workers struggling to build independent organisations after years of repression. It is clear that although Mubarak has gone, the repressive state apparatus still remains. So it is still necessary for workers to struggle to achieve their goals: the right to protest; the right to strike and the right to freely express themselves. We wish you every success in fighting to build on the success of the January revolution.
رسالة التضامن من النقابيين بمطار جاتويك بلندن لزملاءهم بمطار القاهرة.
“نريد أن نبعث رسالة تضامنية للعاملين بمطار القاهرة الذين يناضلون من أجل بناء النقابات المستقلة بعد سنوات طويلة من القمع. ومن الواضح لم إختفى المؤسسات القمعية تابعة للدولة مع سقوط مبارك. ولذلك السبب يجب على العمال النضال من أجل أهدافهم وهي الحق على التظاهر و الإضراب والحرية للتعبير. نتمنى لكم كل التوفيق والنجاح بنضالكم من أجل بناء على نجاح ثورة 25 يناير
ستيفن جي – فرع نقابة يونيت للعاملين مطار جاتويك بلندن
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