Egyptian universities will witness on Sunday, March 23rd, a complete strike staged by professors in protest of their low salaries and demanding proper raises to be in line with a decent living of university staff.
The strike committee- composed of the teaching staff members nationwide- defined several mechanisms to be adopted by the professors in the strike, the most prominent of which is that every teaching staff member will participate in the strike in his/her office from the morning, so that the strikers meet in every university at 1.00PM to stage a protest vigil in front of buildings of their university administrations.
The committee announced that the strike will extend to all public universities, across the country. Professors will refrain from teaching for that day and will wear a pin supporting the strike.
In hospitals, strike will be limited to wearing pins and hanging stickers on office doors and labs supporting the strike, so that patients’ care will not be interrupted.
The committee called on all teaching staff members of all Egyptian universities to take part in the strike and to report any threats that they may face. It confirmed that it decided to taking the necessary legal procedures to confront any possible threats, starting with the attendance of a number of lawyers with professors who may be referred to any disciplinary board and even resorting to the International Federation of Universities.
In the same context, university students issued statements in which they expressed their solidarity with university professors in their demands. They stressed that the professors’ strike will not have any negative impact on them, dismissing claims of university presidents.
Yahya Al Gazzaz, a professor at Helwan University and an organizer of the strike, confirmed to Ikhwanweb that he does not expect any security intervention in this peaceful strike which will not get outside university campuses. However, he didn"t deny that pressures may be exercised on the university professors through threats or temptation.
Asked how far this strike will address demands of the university professors, Al Gazzaz confirmed that university professors" mere approval on participating in this strike is a success in itself. He added that university professors are known for pacifism and conservatism, however, accepting to take part in a strike is in itself an unprecedented success. The real success isn"t to get everything you want but to take a step on the path. We- university professors- insist on carrying out this strike.
Al Gazzaz confirmed also that this strike is only a step towards realizing their demands to be followed by more future steps which may be stronger.
On the other hand, the Egyptian Doctors Syndicate decided to postpone its planned strike to April 23rd, in the emergency general assembly meeting held on Friday March 21st, under the slogan "No Concession on Special Cadre". The general assembly renewed its confidence in the board of the general syndicate, and it authorized it along with subsidiary syndicates to negotiate with the government over the special cadre (a new financial degree).
The general assembly decided also to retain proceedings which were approved in previous emergency general assemblies, and follow-up negotiations with government around issuing over issuing a law for the special cadre for doctors to improve their financial and administrative conditions. It also urged subsidiary syndicates to organize a general protest day April 23rd, 2008.