As Economic Crisis Deepens, More Egyptian Workers Threatening to Strike
|Monday, March 17,2008 13:01|
|By Nadine Abdullah|
Egypt has witnessed mass demonstrations during the last 2 years protesting very low wages while prices are rapidly increasing.
Protests included Egyptians with different careers as workers, labors, doctors, judges, nurses, and lawyers where they expressed their anger through peaceful protests and sit-ins. The government on the other hand seeks to silence them through long-term promises that are rarely fulfilled.
Egyptian citizens realized that calling for their rights requires a more positive reaction rather than protests and sit-ins, hence, a number of protestors threatened with huge strikes in case they don’t get quick response from the government concerning their demands.
In Helwan university, professors demanded the university chairmen to deal more aggressively with the Egyptian government that does not respond to their demands.
A number of university professors called for a one-day strike on March 23rd, which they believe the only way to obtain their rights.
The professors’ decision started with the calling of Dr. Yehia El-Qazzaz, professor of Geology at Helwan university and member in 9 March and Kefaya reform movements, to mark the begining of a real escalation with a strike on March 23rd. His call was approved by majority of professors.
While Dr. Shaker Abdul-Azim of Helwan university believed that the university council, including university chairman and deans, should resign if they are unable to resolve the professors’ grievances.
On another front, nearly 24,000 workers at Mahalla textile company announced in a statement this week their plan to organize a huge strike in April if the government does not intervene and improve their incentives and benefits packages. The workers warned the strike will be the biggest in history of the labor movement in Egypt.
On the other hand, the Doctors’ Syndicate continued on Saturday its series of protests calling for more demands. More than 800 doctors and nurses took part in a protest outside Mahalla local hospital. The simple protest drew more supporters on the street and later became a public demonstration by hospital employees and dozens of Mahalla citizens condemning the harsh living conditions they all face, carrying placards condemning the high prices and low wages.
Other two protests by doctors were held in Alexandria and Cairo where the demonstrators promised further escalation, threatening the government to organize a strike in major hospitals in case they do not receive any positive response to their demands.
Worth mentioning that the Doctors Syndicate has previously organized 2-hour strike this month, however, it was delayed after the intervention of the Ministry of Health promising reaching serious solutions for the doctors in Egypt within a short time.