Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Unprecedented wave of labor protests follows in footsteps of protests at Tahrir

Train traffic was interrupted.

 A wave of labor and professional unrest is preading throughout Egypt in the wake of the January 25 popular uprising. Mostly the protests are for better wages, improvement in the working conditions and replacemenet of the management, but  also demand that that th regime goes are heard.
Transport is getting fro a standstill as some 3000 Egyptian National Railways (ENR) employees went on strike and also bus transport in Cairo will stop nearly totally as from tomorrow. The railway workers are demanding that Transport Minister Atef Abdel Hamid reconsider their incentives. The protesters sat on railway lines, disrupting train services, and threatened not to move until their demands are met.
 As with regard to bus transports in Cairo, blogger Hossam al Hamalawy blogged late on Wednesday afternoon: 
My sources has just confirmed this now… The Cairo Public Transportation workers, who started a strike today in five Garages: Nasr Station, Fateh Station, Ter’a Station, Amiriya Station, Mezzalat Station, Sawwah Station, have issued a statement with a list of demands, calling for overthrowing Mubarak. No public buses will roam Cairo tomorrow, except those buses that will bring the drivers to the central station in Nasr City’s el-Gabal el-Ahmar, where the strikers have announced they will declare an independent union.
This comes as strikes have spread literally everywhere… It’s happening people… It’s happening… The working class has entered the arena with full force today. Mubarak’s regime’s fate will be sealed off SOON!
 Al Ahram reported that the industrial actions in Suez were expanding. Workers at the national and Egyptian Steel companies and the Suez Canal Port Authority shipyard were among those staging striks and sit ins. in Cairo thousands of Petrotrade Co. (Egyptian Petroleum Trading Service Co.) workers organized a number of sporadic protests at the company’s Cairo branches, joined by workers from Petroment and Syanco petroleum companies.
Al-Masry al-Youm reported that the wave of labor unrest is really unprecendented and is spreading throughout Egypt. Some 5000 employees of the state-owned telecommunications giant, Telecom Egypt, staged protest stands in three different locations across the city, the Smart Village, Ramses Square, and Opera Square for an adequate minimum wage. Over 100 workers at the state-owned Kafr al-Dawwar Silk Company and over 500 at the state-owned Kafr al-Dawwar Textile Company protested, before and after their work shifts, to demand overdue bonuses and food compensation payments. Approximately 4000 workers from the Coke Coal and Basic Chemicals company in Helwan--home to several Egyptian industries-- held a strike, as well as around 2000 workers from Helwan Silk Factory, who called  for the removal of the board of directors.
In the Nile Delta City of Mahalla, some 1500 workers at the private-sector Abul Sebae Textile Company protested to demand their overdue wages and bonuses on Tuesday, while in the Nile Delta Town of Quesna some 2000 workers and employees of the Sigma Pharmaceuticals company continued a strike they started on Tuesday. One of their their demands is a change in the management of the company. Also in Mahalla, Gharbiya, hundreds of workers from the Mahalla spinning company organized an open-ended sit-in in front of the company's administrative office to call for the delivery of overdue promotions. The workersdemanded the dismissal of the board after the company suffered heavy losses.
More than 1500 workers at Kafr al-Zayyat hospital, also in Gharbiya, staged a sit-in inside their hospital to call for the payment of their overdue bonuses. The nursing staff started the sit-in and were joined by the physicians and the rest of the workers at the hospital. Around 350 workers from the Egyptian Cement Company--whose factory is located along the Qattamiya-Ain al-Sokhna Highway--staged protest stands at their factory and outside their company's headquarters in Qattamiya on Tuesday. These workers demanded the reinstament of a member of the union who has been sacked after he did his work as theiur representatvie.  In Cairo, meanwhile, journalistst staged actions at several papers and other media against the editors who over the years had been responsible for the pro-regime bias in the reporting. Several hundreds of journalists for instance demonstrated  at the state owned Rose al-Youssef newspaper and magazine against the policies of their editor-in-chief Abdallah Kamal and his administrative aide. Some 200 other journalists staged a demonstration in front of the Journalists' Syndicate in downtown Cairo and demanded that the syndicate's president Makram Mohamed Ahmed, a longtime faithful supporter of Mubarak, step down. Similar scenes were seen elsewhere. Also some 500 print-shop employees of the largest state owned newspaper Al Ahram held a protest demanding full-time contracts, benefits and bonuses.

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