BENI SUEF: The National Railway Union agreed to two of the train drivers’ five demands when they met yesterday in El-Wosta, Beni Suef.
The drivers met union representatives to discuss a bundle of demands pertaining to allowances and working conditions.
Some 60 drivers held a protest before the meeting during which they held up banners listing their demands. This follows the five-hour protest held last week on March 2.
Negotiations between drivers and the union lasted for approximately one hour. Drivers listed a bundle of demands, most of which pertain to wage parity with drivers based elsewhere in Egypt.
The union agreed to the payment of an allowance which drivers are entitled to under a decree issued five years ago, but which has not been paid in full to drivers based in El-Wosta.
Back payment of this allowance will add up to a roughly LE 1,500 lump sum for many drivers.
The union also agreed to drivers’ demand that they receive an allowance given to drivers for standby fire engine shifts.
The union did not accept drivers’ demands to receive health insurance like their counterparts based in Minya. In addition, the drivers’ principal demand – that they report to the central Cairo office rather than Assiut – is “under consideration.
“It is unlikely that the Egyptian National Railway authority will agree to it, train driver Emad Ahmed told Daily News Egypt.
El-Wosta is 90 km from Cairo – approximately an hour and a half away by train. In contrast, Assiut is over 300 km away.
“The Assiut office is over 300 km from El-Wosta which means that every time we have to report to the administration – for an investigation for example – we have to travel to Assiut instead of the 90 km to Cairo, Ahmed explained.
“We previously reported to the central Cairo office. I have no idea why they changed it, he added.