Friday, January 30, 2009

A New wave of strikes

To be honest I am happy with these strikes because enough is enough. The railways workers and the Microbuses drivers strikes are the talk of the town because the people felt them.
The railways workers despite the negotiations with the ministry of transportation and Egyptian railways promised that there will be another strike on next Sunday insh Allah. 
Anyone uses the Egyptian railways will notice how this important means of transportation is suffering from governmental negligence so I am not surprised that the employees and the workers have enough from that negligence.
You only have to see the engines they work on to know ,the work environment is terrible. I must mention that the strike is time was led by Signal operators ,the forgotten ones as once symbolized by Wahid Hamd  as the average Mohamed in Egypt in Sharif Aref’s film “ Al Mansy” starring Adel Emam and Youssra.
You can find more about the Strike in Arabawy’s del.ici.ous links “This is a good geek idea”
Strangely all what they want the same basic needs from salaries raises etc.
A Side Remark : interestingly enough I found in Al Wafd Weekly Newspaper an ad in the first page from the general syndication of the railways employees condemning the strike !! 
It is logic as the general syndication is the official syndication that follows the State.
Strikes happen all over the world even in the most capitalistic
countries ,it is a right as long as you do not give your employee his
basic right , you do not expect him to work as it should without his basic right , it is a basic fact in management and human resources especially in the services where you expect high level of efficiency and productivity. Your employees in any company whether public or private are your inner customers, you need them to be loyal to your company.
The big surprise to me was the strike of the Microbuses drivers in Giza in the last 2 days . About 300 microbuses drivers were on strike objecting the treatment of Police !! Again it is a surprise because usually the microbuses drivers are from a segment that does not understand this strike culture.
But they know that the ill treatment of traffic police to them should be stopped and this is very important. Yes the Microbuses drivers are usually hated for their reckless driving and bad attitude yet on daily basis they serve millions of Egyptian citizens and they are humans in the first place.Emad El-Kabeer is a microbus driver if I am not mistaken. You will make them follow the laws and rules by treating them like animals !!
I remember before the 6th April strike I talked with an activist whom I know personally and she told me that the strike would be  a powerful one if the taxis,microbuses and train drivers joined it just like abroad. Well  I believe this can happen in the next strike ish Allah if there are plans for the coming 6th April 2008 ;)


  1. With all due respect to my country's workers who are starting to awaken and stand up for their rights, the problem is not in having a strike to increase basic salaries or benefits. What should be done is a series of negotiations (followed by strikes in case of non-agreement) to establish formal workers' unions.

    The objective of a strike is to protest and at the same time pressure the government into listening to you by denying it some of the revenue it gains from your work. You cannot pull a surprise strike on the people who depend on you to get to work or to get back home to their families. In Europe for example, the worker's union notifies the government and public that there is going to be a strike on a certain date and they tell them that it is going to last for a number of days so that people can work around this and try to make other arrangements, they don't have indefinate strikes but rather a series of strikes. First they give people a taste of what is coming and then they hold a number of strikes over a specific time period until the government or their employer realizes how much trouble this is all causing.

    This way a strike achieves all its objectives, it shows protest, it denies the employer the revenue from normal operation and by informing the public before the srike you actually get the support of the people. But what happened in the case of the trains was a random strike that got people stuck in the middle of nowhere at night for a very long time, of course some people supported the railway workers but a lot of people felt betrayed by them.

    Under the current system, workers' unions are illegal in Egypt and by the way if you read any economic or investment reports you will find that part of the attractive factors of investing in a country like Egypt is the absence of formal and official unions. Investors prefer this situation because they know that the workers cannot protest for better conditions, or wages and that if they carry out any form of protest, the investor will be paid insurance for the wasted revenue and could very easily kick those strikers out of their jobs and hire new people in a very short time. Basically when workers' unions are made illegal by the state, it gives any employer the right to abuse workers' rights while being protected by the law.

    The railway workers and other workers in this country need to realize the power of unions and to push for better representation infront of the government not to cause chaos and loss of time and money for other people just like themselves.

  2. Dear anonymous ,regarding informing the government and the people , do you know if this happens what will happen ?? those people who are planning and heading the movement will be arrested immediately , it is illegal to have strike according tot he government as you mention it
    My friend years and years those workers and employees complained and no one listenned to them with better representation, look to the teachers and doctors with better representation they did like what you are saying and up till now their basic demands have not been fulfilled.
    I do not see any other option they have expect this for the time being

  3. No ya Zenobia I don't think you got my idea...
    Even the doctors and the teachers have no proper unionized representation. They have a syndicate which gives them some benefits but they don't have a union to negotiate with the government because even the idea of a union is illegal.

    What I'm trying to say is that all those members of parliament who keep protesting about insignificant problems should be pushing the government for constitutional amendments that would make unions legal. This way workers can join legitimate unions which have real constitutional power when talking to the government.

    Unfortunately our MPs would rather debate who is a traitor and who is not while raising their shoes to each other and making us the laughing stock of the whole world.

  4. Mo, the government ,especially this one "The businessmen cabinet" will not approve the Union ,for God Sake this is the NDP Parilament how on earth can you imagine they would legalize the Unions ??
    Regarding the laugh of the world , watch the quarrels of the South Korean Parilament , ours are nothing , but look to South Korea !!


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