A worker smiles as he poses during his shift at a quarry in the desert of Minya, south of Cairo, Egypt, on 28 May, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)
In the limestone quarries of the Minya province south of Cairo, labourers in sandals and makeshift masks use unsheathed rotor blades to gouge the white, fossil-rich rock into house bricks.
The workers in the snow-white landscape -- farmers and university graduates among them -- plan to strike next month.
They told Reuters that they make between $10 and $16 a day, and suffer from scant safety measures and a lack of social and medical insurance, despite some having lost arms, legs or fingers in accidents.
Minya's governor in April ordered that a hospital be built near the quarries, local officials said. With double-digit unemployment in a nation battered by political and economic turmoil since a 2011 uprising, the quarries attract men unable to find work elsewhere.
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