Thousands of workers continue protesting nationwide

Thousands of workers continued their protests on Tuesday in Cairo and a number of other governorates.

In Helwan, nearly 3000 workers at the Mefco Helwan Furniture Company continued striking for the second consecutive day to demand better salaries and denounce the company board’s failure to respond to their demands. The protesters presented their demands to the cabinet as well as the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. The military police and a representative from the armed forces made a second visit to the company on Tuesday.

Taha Sirag, a spokesperson for the workers, said that the company’s CEO shut down the company and prevented the workers from entering on the second day of the protests. Sirag said the CEO refused to meet with the workers for negotiations after a representative of the armed forces called on him to propose a reasonable solution. Sirag told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the workers are insisting on receiving their monetary rights including the 15 percent raise approved for government employees.

Meanwhile, workers in the Egypt transportation authority announced they would be halting their strike, which they began on Monday following pleas from passengers. The workers vowed to resume their strike if their demands are not met by the end of the second term at schools and universities.

Health Minister Asharaf Hatem issued a decision to amend certain articles in the Doctors Syndicate bylaws, including Article 43 which requires the door be opened for syndicate elections from 20 to 30 June, 2011.

In related news, with regards to the threats made by the Doctors Syndicate to organize a week-long general strike in all hospitals nationwide, the general assembly in charge of the strike slated for 10 May said it would exempt doctors of emergency and intensive care units, as well as units treating acute conditions, from being required to participate.

“The syndicate supported demands made by doctors for the dismissal of the health minister, as he is a remnant of the former regime,” said syndicate treasurer Essam al-Eryan. The minister is accused of attempting to privatize public health insurance.

Workers at Anshas’ first and second nuclear reactors organized a strike for the second consecutive day to demand better salaries and working conditions. The workers complained that they were being paid a meager LE120 per month despite the fact that they work in a hazardous occupation.

Egyptian Airports Company workers at the Abu Simbel International Airport continued striking for a second consecutive day inside airport terminals to demand they be given incentive pay of up to 100 percent of their base salary, rather than the 50 percent they have been given for the past five years under instruction by the company’s CEO.
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