Thousands of Mahalla textile workers are still on strike (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Thousands of textile workers at the state-owned Mahalla Misr Spinning and Weaving Company – Egypt's largest textiles manufacturer – continue their strike for a third day, demanding the removal of the CEO.
The workers are also demanding that workers’ rights be formalised in the new constitution and for the company to hold elections for the board of directors and the union committee.
Company employees currently receive profit shares equivalent to four and a half months of their basic salary. When they leave the company’s employment, they receive a bulk payment equivalent to two months of pay for every year with the company. Protesters demand this be increased to three months.
Mahalla Misr Spinning and Weaving, which employs some 24,000 people, has seen a series of strikes over similar demands within the last 18 months.
Workers threatened to escalate and revive earlier protests of the final years of Mubarak’s rule in which thousands of workers participated. On 6 April 2008 protests in Mahalla were violently attacked by security forces, leaving at least two dead.
Strikes by Mahalla’s textile workers in 2006 and 2008 are widely seen as having played a key part in the build up to the January 25 Revolution, which culminated in the ouster of Egypt’s longstanding president Hosni Mubarak.
Another labour strike threatened to start on Tuesday by Kafr El-Dwar textile workers protesting the decision president of the holding company to deprive the company from subsidies that valued for seven million LE.