Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday 14 February: Egyptian army calls on strikers to return to work, but seems to stop short for now of formal ban on strikes

It appears from Reuters reports on Monday 14 February that, for now at least, the army command has appealed to strikers to return to work, but not issued the formal ban on union meetings and strikes which army spokespeople had talked of over the weekend.

Reuters says:

In "Communique No. 5" read out on state television, an army spokesman said: "Noble Egyptians see that these strikes, at this delicate time, lead to negative results." It added that work stoppages were harming security and economic production.

The military council now governing the Arab world's most populous nation said it "calls on citizens and professional unions and the labour unions to play their role fully."

But, again, according to Reuters, for now at least the explosion of working-class militancy is too strong for the army to suppress.

Using their new-found freedom of expression and protest, angry employees on Monday r[14th] allied in Cairo and other cities to complain about low pay and poor working conditions.

Protests, sit-ins and strikes have occurred at state-owned institutions across Egypt, including the stock exchange, textile and steel firms, media organisations, the postal service, railways, the Culture Ministry and the Health Ministry.

Hundreds of employees demonstrated outside a branch of the Bank of Alexandria in central Cairo on Monday, urging their bosses to "leave, leave!" in an echo of an anti-Mubarak slogan.

At least 500 people staged a wage protest outside the state television building. "If they distributed all the billions of dollars that Mubarak stole and distributed it to the 80 million Egyptians, it would be enough," said one of the protesters, Safat Mohamed Guda, 52, a widow with five children.

Reuters also reports that:

The military cleared the last few dozen protesters from Cairo's Tahrir Square, nerve-centre of anti-Mubarak protests.

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