Public transport workers’ strike enters ninth day

Thousands of Public Transport Authority workers continued their strike for the ninth consecutive day Friday at 27 garages in Cairo, Giza and Qalyubiya governorates, after negotiations with the government have failed to reach a resolution.

The transportation employees are demanding a lump-sum retirement payment of 100 months’ pay, as opposed to three months, and that the PTA be affiliated with the Transportation Ministry instead of the Cairo governorate administration.

On Friday, Al-Ahram’s online portal quoted Ismail Mohamed, the treasurer of the Public Transport Workers Syndicate, as saying the employees would not end their open-ended strike until their demands are met.

Buses affiliated with the military’s own Public Transport Authority could be found in some areas featuring banners reading “intended for civilians,” in an attempt to ease the overcrowding of passengers stranded at bus stations, according to a report in state-run news agency MENA.

On Thursday, protesting employees turned down a Finance Ministry proposal that would have given them the pension equivalent of one and a half month’s pay for each year they worked.

“We insist that we will not end our strike until our demands are met,” Abdallah Mostafa, secretary general of the syndicate, told Al-Masry Al-Youm on Wednesday. He added that the 100-month lump-sum payment is every worker’s right.

Fathy Abdel Bary, a ticket collector at the Sawah Garage in Cairo, said workers clocked in Wednesday but did not work. A committee has been formed at every garage to monitor buses and prevent others from trying to break the strike, he said.

“A delegation formed by the cabinet, a representative of the transportation minister and some members of Parliament negotiated with workers’ representatives on Wednesday. There were promises to merge the PTA into the [Transportation] Ministry starting in May, however, workers did not accept the proposal and refused to end their strike,” said Mohamed, the syndicate treasurer.

“Workers decided to meet with the Cairo governor on Sunday to relieve him of responsibility for the PTA, so that it can be joined to the ministry,” he added.

Ali Hamdoun, a driver based at the Sawah Garage, said the governor doesn’t want to relinquish control over the PTA because of the profits it yields for the governorate.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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