Public transport workers march to Tahrir, threaten escalation

The public transport workers’ strike entered its fourth day on Saturday and extended to include 20 bus garages. The protesters demanded a 200 percent bonus and a timetable to meet all their other demands.
Some marched from the garages to Tahrir Square and the cabinet building. They decided to stage an open-ended strike starting Sunday.

Ali Fattouh, head of the Public Transport Workers Independent Syndicate, said he will file a complaint to the attorney general against Wageeh Sadek, assistant interior minister for the transport, accusing him of verbal abuse in a statement to Al-Masry Al-Youm. Sadek threatened to apply the Emergency Law on striking workers if they continue.

Fattouh added that Sadek accused seven workers including, Fattouh himself, of fomenting the strike. Sadek said the public prosecutor summoned him and his six colleagues for interrogation.

Fattouh said the striking workers will demand the application of Article 171 of the penal code on defamation, and added that Sadek deliberately distorted their image, portraying them as saboteurs and lawbreakers.

He said they would begin a hunger strike starting Sunday, threatening further escalation if their demands are not met.

“I am not responsible for the reaction of angry workers,” he said, adding that the workers warned the head of the Public Transport Authority, Mona Mostafa, in a letter, against abusing them.

Fattouh said the workers unified their demands including better pay, healthcare, Ministry of Public Transport membership, staff uniforms, better conditions, social insurance, and 100 months’ end of service benefits.

Saber Abu Seree, the intermediate between the independent and the official syndicate, told Al-Masry Al-Youm the strike is ongoing in 20 garages, including Giza, Athar al-Naby, Maadi, Imbaba, Amal, Tiba, Ter’et Ismailia, Basateen, Mostaqbal, Sawah and Fom al-Khaleeg. He said work continued only in 4 garages.

General Hisham Attiya, vice chairman of the authority, told Al-Masry Al-Youm the authority cannot accept threats from the independent syndicate, and that workers should have used legal methods.

He said he held a meeting with workers to negotiate their demands and that the meeting did not include any of the independent and official workers syndicates because according to him they only seek to raise workers against the authority.

An authority source said losses have exceeded LE3 million over the past three days. He said the number of authority buses is 3000, but only 700 are running.

Strikers raised banners during their protest in front of the cabinet headquarters reading their demands and denouncing the policies of the head of the Public Transport Authority.
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