By Tamim Elyan
CAIRO: Tens of metro employees continued on Tuesday their sit-in for the second consecutive day at the central Sadat station despite promises by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf to fulfill their demands by Thursday.
Metro employees, including drivers and workers, protested on the tracks of the Sadat station for an hour late Monday, demanding the discharge of Mohamed Al-Shemy, head of the Egyptian Company for Metro Management and Operation, and their return to the National Railway Authority.
“We worked as employees at the Metro Agency, affiliated with the National Railway Authority, until 2007 when it was turned into the Egyptian Company for Metro Management and Operation. We became secondary employees at the new company,” said one worker who participated at the strike who refused to have his name published.
“We knew that after a government employee spends four years on loan to another private company, he is no longer a state employee and moves to the company. And now the Authority is giving privileges to its employees that we no longer receive at the metro company,” he added.
Workers expressed fears that the company might be privatized and said that Al-Shemy is applying a very strict by-law that doesn’t give workers any rights, with claims of inequality within the company.
They said that they presented their demands in a memo to Al-Shemy on May 29. When they didn’t get a response, they went on June 2 to meet Sharaf but only managed to meet his media consultant who asked them to write their demands and will present it to Sharaf.
A delegation of protesting workers met Minister of Transportation Atef Abdel Hamid late on Monday who refused to discharge Al-Shemy unless corruption evidence was provided.
Sharaf then joined them, apologized for not meeting them earlier, and promised that the issue will be solved by Thursday. He formed a committee Tuesday headed by Abdel Hamid to examine the workers’ demands.