This video is called Egyptian Workers Strike for Minimum Wage and Independent Unions.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Delegates hail Egypt’s unions
Thursday 19 May 2011
by Rory MacKinnon in Southport
The Fire Brigades Union‘s annual conference in Southport went international today when speakers turned their attention to the Middle East.
Delegates took to their feet as Egyptian trade unionist Kamal Abbas approached the microphone for his first speech on a whistle-stop tour of England.
A general co-ordinator for Egypt’s Centre for Trade Unions and Workers’ Services, Mr Abbas was a central figure in the 1989 Helwan steelworkers’ strike and the events leading to February’s occupation of Tahrir Square.
Mr Abbas’s work made him a frequent target of the Mubarak regime but he told the packed hall today that he and his colleagues only believed it was their duty.
“Each time I found myself in front of the interrogators, I said to myself: ‘I’m doing my duty’,” he said through an interpreter.
“We released a statement, we organised meetings, we played a role in the revolution.
“And in the last days of the revolution we used the weapon of strikes, and we felt we had done our duty.
“And today as you meet at your delegates’ conference you will discuss how to defend the right of firefighters, who lay down their lives for the sake of duty.
“To all of you I pay my regards,” he said.
Earlier in the day FBU leader Matt Wrack poured scorn on AssetCo, the private company which supplies London’s fire engines.
AssetCo also supplies the United Arab Emirates‘ military, who have killed at least 29 peaceful protesters and injured countless more since they were deployed to Bahrain in February.
Mr Wrack said it was a “sickening scandal” that London’s firefighters should be linked to a vicious and repressive regime.
“New Egypt” Feature: Military Detains “Thousands”: here.
Egyptian doctors in open-ended national strike for better health service
On May 17, doctors nationwide started an open-ended strike until their demands are met.
Initial reports said that the first day was as successful as last week’s one-day strike, despite attempts to undermine it. The response rate was estimated at between 85 to 90 percent as 227 hospitals across the country participated. Between 60 to 75 percent of hospitals in Cairo reportedly participated.
Red Sea and North Sinai governorates joined the strike for the first time, while Upper Egypt governorates witnessed the participation of central hospitals for the first time, according to Daily News Egypt.
Dentists, pharmacists and nursing staff members also joined the strike.
Doctors are demanding the dismissal of Minister of Health Ashraf Hatem, an increase in the health budget from 3.5 percent to 15 percent of the national budget, increased wages, and the provision of adequate security at hospitals.
“We started the open-ended strike to pressure the government and to attract media attention in order to get any response from officials,” said Ayman Shawky, a doctor at the Ahmed Maher Public Hospital.
“The heads of departments tried to operate clinics on their own but failed because we were all on strike.”
Dr. Muhammad Shafiq, a committee member, told Al Masry Al Youm that the Ministry of Health was pressuring doctors to end the strike. The ministry was “sending untrue faxes in which it claims it responded to the demands, and that it has forced hospital administrations to work.”
Doctors were threatened with referral to the legal affairs directorate at their hospitals and some were threatened with suspension of up to six months by the official syndicate/union and the Ministry of Health, according to organizers.
Striking doctors said that the union issued false statements through its web site and faxes that the demands were met and the strike was postponed.
Abdel Fattah Rezq, union board member said, “The syndicate agreed on the idea of a one-day strike because it was a civilized way to convey our demands, but the decision to start an open strike was forced haphazardly by a group of young enthusiastic doctors.
“The organizers broke the ethics and moral code of the profession and insulted the head of the syndicate, a senior doctor. Young doctors were used by the strike leaders for the benefit of doctors running in the next elections.”
Organizers of the strike said that hospital managers admitted patients and examined them to prove that there was no strike, while some threatened doctors using thugs at Al-Anfoushy Hospital in Alexandria and in Damietta. A clinic manager at Al-Mounira Hospital assaulted one doctor.
Dr. Ehab Ismail at Al-Mounira Hospital said, “We are the ones who care about the patient the most; no patient who needed treatment was turned back and we spent our private money to provide medicine to patients today.”
The strike includes all but emergency and dialysis operations staff, emergency surgeries, deliveries and intensive care unit staff.
Doctors threatened to submit collective resignations and organize a million-strong march in Tahrir if their demands were not met.
Ahram Online reported on a May 16 solidarity demonstration supporting the doctors’ demands.
Egyptian students and professors call for dismissal of university presidents and faculty deans
Hundreds of students and university professors staged demonstrations in front of the national cabinet May 17, demanding the dismissal of university presidents and faculty deans by the end of this academic year, according to a report by Al Masry Al Youm.
The students and professors are demanding that in future senior university administrators should be elected rather than appointed.
Students at the High Institute of Technology also staged protests, demanding that the institute should be turned into a genuine faculty of engineering.
The protesters clashed with the staff of the Ministry of Education and claimed that staff tried to disperse them with fire extinguishers.
Israeli singers and opera workers in dispute
The Histadrut trade union federation told executives of the Israeli National Opera May 17 that it will call for a partial work stoppage over what it said was management’s refusal to answer demands for collective bargaining and better working conditions for employees.
The opera workers say that they are paid only per project, that their salaries do not reflect seniority, and that they do not have job security and work under extremely difficult conditions and schedules. They receive no compensation for travel, a situation they called particularly difficult for those taking part in dispersed performances.
Israeli doctors’ strike to put hospitals on reduced schedules
A strike by public sector doctors is ongoing this week in hospitals around the country, after the Israel Medical Association (IMA) said the Treasury had refused to discuss upgrading manpower in the hospitals and failed to offer talks.
The medical centres are to function on a reduced schedule throughout, in which only urgent and lifesaving operations will be conducted, but duty doctors will be in the wards.
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