Public transport workers, govt reach agreement to end protest

A solution to the Public Transport Authority workers strike, which entered its fourteenth consecutive day on Monday, has been solved, said Transportation Minister Galal al-Saeed on Monday.

In a statement to state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper, Saeed said Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri approved the increase of an end of service bonus for transit authority workers amounting to LE76,000.

Saeed added that within the coming month, the government would begin looking into to the measures needed to affiliate the transport authority with the Transportation Ministry instead of the Cairo governorate administration. He said he promised to write a report discussing the factors governing this affiliation and that the difference in salaries would be funded by the state budget.

Saeed went on to say that the meeting ended with a promise that the drivers and workers would resume work on Monday afternoon. Saeed told Al-Ahram that this arrangement is in the best interest of the general public.

A People’s Assembly committee had approved an initiative earlier on Monday to end the public transportation employees sit-in in front of Parliament.

A representative of the workers approved the initiative, which calls for giving workers and end-of-year payment equal to the total of two months’ salary for each year the employee has worked.

The joint public transportation-local government committee drafted an official memorandum of the proposal to submit to Finance Minister Momtaz al-Saeed to examine how the plan can be financed.

Addressing the committee, the workers had said they demand an end-of-service payment equivalent to the sum of 100 monthly salaries and for their authority to be affiliated to the Transportation Ministry instead of Cairo Governorate to have greater power to address its problems.

In response to that last demand, Transportation Minister Galal al-Saeed said, “The workers’ financial demands are the core problem and they can be solved under any authority because in all cases, the money will be taken from the state budget.”

Meanwhile, Cairo Governor Abdel Qawy Khalifa said he is aware of the difficult working conditions for Public Transportation workers.

He said he asked them for a month to solve their problems but they refused, even though the authority has lost LE1 million daily because of their protest.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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