After a strike by 2,000 workers and students at the American University in Cairo (AUC), which lasted more than a week, university bosses issued a statement on Monday 19 September in which they appeared to concede the strikers’ main demands.
The strike had focused on winning a cap on fees, a reversal of a recent 9% fees hike, greater student representation in the running of the university and a series of workers’ demands including wage increases and a reduction in working hours.
The AUC said: “The American University in Cairo reached an agreement today with the Independent Syndicate representing AUC custodians, landscape workers, and security guards, and with the Student Union representing students. The agreement provides better salaries and employment conditions for workers, more transparency on processes and procedures affecting the AUC community, and more opportunities to engage students in the University’s annual budget process.”
The strike, which began on Sunday 11 September, protested outside the offices of university president Dr. Lisa Anderson. She initially refused to negotiate with the strikers, who included students protesting fees hikes and security workers fighting for living wages.
Similar protests also took place at the German University in Cairo.
Chilean students to march on capital
Thousands of students in Chile, south America, are preparing to march on the country’s capital, Santiago, as their long-running battle against the government continues.
Protests began by focusing on the spiralling costs of higher education and the privatisation of universities, but as the trade union movement mobilised behind the students the movement’s politics broadened. Chile’s trade union federation, the CUT, called a 48-hour general strike at the end of August, which mobilised 600,000 workers.
Protests have seen violent clashes between activists and the state, with the number of arrests nearing 1,000. A 16 year-old boy was killed during clashes at demonstrations supporting the general strike.
Camilla Vallejo, president of Chile’s national students’ union, said the aim of the Santiago demonstration would be to pressure the government into withdrawing education bills currently before Congress.