By – AFP News
The Egyptian political protests that toppled the regime of strongman Hosni Mubarak have given way to a nationwide “explosion” of pay strikes, a pressure group tracking industrial action told AFP on Monday.
Workers in banking, transport, oil, tourism, textiles, state-owned media and government bodies are striking to demand higher wages and better conditions, said Kamal Abbas of the Centre for Trade Union and Workers’ Services.
“It’s difficult to say exactly how many people are striking and where. Who isn’t striking?” Abbas said.
Many trade unions are headed by people affiliated to Mubarak’s regime, leaving workers with little formal channels to air their grievances.
“In many places, workers want the removal of senior figures who are accused of corruption,” Abbas said.
The salary gaps between directors and management is a major issue, while many workers are demanding benefits and legal protection, having worked on temporary contracts for years, he said.
Nationwide protests erupted on January 25, ending Mubarak’s 30-year rule in less than three weeks. At least 300 people were killed in the demonstrations and scores more were injured or detained.