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Public transport workers threaten another strike

By-Muhammad Azouz-Hisham Omar | 29 September 2009

By-Muhammad Azouz and Hisham Omar Abdel Halim

Drivers for the Public Transport Authority are threatening to strike on 3 October. They say the government has failed to follow through on promises made during the negotiations that ended a two-day strike in August.

Last month's strike concluded with nearly all of the drivers' demands being met. The government agreed to an eight per cent salary increase and a monthly food allowance of LE120, and said it would consider paying drivers and ticket-takers compensation for potential exposure to disease.

A major point of contention for the drivers is exemption from traffic tickets. Drivers say their buses are poorly maintained, which leads them to violate traffic laws. After the strike in August the government agreed to exempt drivers from tickets, excepting tickets for running red lights and driving the wrong way down one-way streets.

These agreements have not been kept, the drivers say.

Drivers recently filed a lawsuit against the Interior Ministry when a colleague was charged with approximately LE 10,000 in tickets.

Mohamed Gebali, president of the Public Transport Workers Syndicate, said, "There are a few who have enticed the rest of the drivers to go on strike."

A 3 October strike would coincide with the resumption of the school year, suggesting that the strike could have an especially severe impact.

From Almasry Alyoum

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