Last updated: 7 September, 2012

EgyptAir strike halted after promise of talks

EgyptAir hostesses and stewards went on strike Friday to press for better working conditions, but ended their work stoppage after promises of a meeting with civil aviation officials, strike leaders said.

The national carrier’s cabin crew went on strike at dawn for 12 hours, with the company saying that this had affected some early morning flights and causing the suspension of international departures from Cairo between 4:00 am and 4:00 pm (0200-1400 GMT).

Around 50 flights were ultimately cancelled.

The airline said domestic operations were not affected by the industrial action, and added that it was doing “everything to contain the situation.”

During the day, the strikers met with Tourism Minister Mohamed Hisham Abbas Zazou, who promised them talks with civil aviation authorities.

They later suspended the strike pending a meeting on Sunday with Civil Aviation Minister Samir Imbabi.

The cabin crew were due to return to work at the end of the afternoon, but it was expected to take around 24 hours for services to return to normal.

An EgyptAir official, speaking on condition of anonymity, estimated the cost of the strike at six million Egyptian pounds (around 775,000 euros).

Of the 60 international flights due to depart Cairo by 4:00 pm local time, around 40 were cancelled.

Hundreds of passengers affected by the strike crowded into Cairo airport, and some remonstrated with employees of the airline.

Since the fall last year of long-time president Hosni Mubarak, strike action has hit several sectors of an economy already badly affected by plummeting tourism revenues and reduced investment from overseas.

In October last year, dozens of flights out of Cairo were disrupted by a go-slow among air traffic controllers demanding higher salaries.