- Posted October 27, 2010 by
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The American University in Cairo's Workers' Strike
"400 pounds, what good will it do?"
The workers (janitors) at the American University in Cairo come together to vocalize their immense dissatisfaction with the unfair wages they are being paid that are not the same wages that they were promised!
Section 13 of the workers' contract states that the worker will recieve from 1200 EGP (approx. $204) to 600 EGP (approx. $108) a month, as well as daily meals and other fringe benefits such as medical insurance. Today my friend Saeed, one of the janitors from the art department, showed me a bank statement showing only 420 EGP with tears in his eyes.
No one knew that this day would go on like this, but as I was sitting on campus with my friends I noticed a swarm of beige coming through one end of campus, chanting. I took my camera out and ran to join them and soon enough some of them were telling me that they are having a sit-in in front of the administration building to find out where their money has gone and to demand it back! Those that were sweeping threw their broomsticks on the ground and joined the crowd.
One man asked a member of the AUC admin. "If you had 400 pounds to live on for a month, how would you raise your four children?" Many of the workers are friends with students (like Saeed and I) and before we knew it half of the crowd was students that were there to support their worker friends and to voice their own concern for their friends' futures.
A student said, "We pay all this money to come to this university, they are the one's who maintain it, they are the one's who should take it!" I told one man standing next to me to go and get one of the daily meals that the university offers them and when it came they passed it around themselves and the students with disgust!
When I had left the scene many figures from the administration had come and gone without a conclusion. For the sake of our worker friends and their families, us as AUC students will not be satisfied until they get what they deserve!