Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Egypt's army calls for end to strikes as workers grow in confidence

Ruling military council also appeals for end to political protests while seeking to reassure youth leaders

Chris McGreal in Cairo
guardian.co.uk, Monday 14 February 2011

"Egypt's new military government has appealed for an end to the strikes sweeping the country as workers use their new-found freedom to demand pay increases after years of rising food prices.

Transport, bank and tourism employees were joined by steel, oil and gas workers in stoppages that undermined the army's attempts to return Egypt to normality after the three weeks of unrest that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

The ruling military council called on Egyptians to go back to work, saying that strikes "damage the security of the country". [Same old slogans; nothing changes with the military!]

"Noble Egyptians, see that these strikes, at this delicate time, lead to negative results," it said in a statement read on state television.

Reuters reported that the army was considering using martial law to ban work stoppages [Same old, same old!], although that may prove difficult to square with its promises of democratic liberalisation.

In the statement, the army also called for an end to political protests, having forced out the last few hundred remaining demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square, who had refused to leave until the military stepped aside in favour of an interim civilian administration. Soldiers barred foreign television cameras from filming the operation......

But Egypt's new military government faces workers who are no longer so afraid of authority."

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