Rail workers strike in Egypt

CAIRO, Feb. 9 (UPI) — Egyptian National Railways employees struck Wednesday as Public Transport Authority workers threatened a walkout.

About 3,000 rail workers joined the job action, al-Masry al-Youm reported. A Transport Ministry source told the newspaper rail executives had been told the walkout must end without violence.

Public Transport employees said they would strike Thursday, al-Masry al-Youm said.

Egyptian Petroleum Trading Co. employees demonstrated outside the company’s Cairo offices and at the Ministry of Petroleum, demanding higher pay and permanent job assignments. They chanted, “Either Sameh comes down or we go to Tahrir,” calling for the ouster of Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy and threatening to join the large daily demonstrations in Tahrir Square.

The wave of protests, brought on partly by the stagnant economy, has caused major economic disruptions, especially in the tourist industry. Ibrahim Mannaa, the minister of civil aviation, said the number of flights into the country is down 70 percent, and EgyptAir reports a 54 percent drop in passenger traffic. He promised airline workers would not be laid off or have their pay cut.

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