Egypt: Striking bus drivers blockade parliament as negotiations fail

Translated from a report in Al-Ishtaraki newspaper, 1 October 2011.
Original Arabic here

Around three thousand workers from the Public Transport Authority blocked Qasr al-Aini street outside the parliament buildings in central cairo today, demanding increases to their wages, a rise of 200% in their incentive pay, and the resignation of Ahmad al-Borai, the Minister of Labour and Migration, because of what they described as “his failure to solve their crisis”.

The workers shouted “Borai out!” and “We’re not going, he’s going” [echoing the famous chants against Mubarak during the uprising in February]. Some of them attacked Ali Fattouh, president of the Independent Public Transport Authority Workers’ Union, considering that the independent union had aggravated the crisis.

In another development, Kamal Abu Aita [president of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions], accused the governor of Cairo, Dr Abdel Qawi Khalifa and the head of the Public Transport Authority, Mona Mustafa, of acting in collusion against Ahmad al-Borai, the Minister of Labour. Abu Aita confirmed that Al-Borai had asked the head of the Public Transport Authority to communicate with the bus garages that workers should be paid for their days on strike, but that she had failed to do this and this had enflamed the situation.

Abu Aita said that Al-Borai had confirmed to him that the government agreed to the demands of the public transport authority workers to increase their wages and had set aside 128 million pounds for this.

Abu Aita added that he met the Minister of Labour this morning in his office and that Al-Borai had asked him to convince the striking workers currently outside the parliament buildings to end their protest and return to work, as the government had agreed to their demands.

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