Yesterday I made my weekly pilgrimage into downtown. I live in Rehab, which is part of Greater Cairo, but kind of a suburb out in the desert near the AUC campus. I enjoy getting into town and experiencing the urban life of one of the greatest cities in the world.
I came into town and had a lovely cocktail with an editor friend of mine, at Al Masry Al Youm and a journalist friend. We went to Estoril, at Talaat al Harb, which is one of the most atmospheric of Cairene venues.
Walking back to the car in the evening, the road was blocked by large buses with large banners hanging on the front of them. There were hundreds of workers sitting on the street, smoking, drinking coffee and eating Taamiya. Apparently, this was the public transport strike which I read about in the news this morning. The workers closed Qasr al Ainy street and said they would remain until the cabinet responded to their demands.
The workers are demanding higher salaries, and improved services. According to my guest lecturer, Dr. Samer Soliman, one of the issues plaguing the public sector in Egypt is the vast inequity in public pay. In some offices, employees earn millions of pounds a month. In other offices, employees earn a few hundred pounds for similar work. These issues must be resolved as the revolution progresses.