Workers at Egypt's Mahalla El-Kobra end strike, production resumes

Bassem Abo Alabass , Wednesday 8 Feb 2017

Mahallah textile
A file photo of Mahalla Textile's workers strikers (Photo: Al-Ahram)

A workers strike at two factories owned by Egypt’s Misr Spinning and Weaving Company, also known as Mahalla El-Kubra, was suspended on Wednesday and production has resumed, according to company chairman Hamza Abul Fath.

One worker, who asked to remain anonymous, told Ahram Online on Wednesday that the strike ended due to fears that workers would be fired.

Abul Fath told Ahram Online that the dispute was over and a new draft law increasing the salary of private sector employees, “which is yet to become into law and is still in parliament, so the company is not entitled to [pay out the extra wages].”

If passed, the draft law, which was presented to parliament in December, would mandate an annual 10 percent increase in wages for private sector workers.

According to Abul Fath, the workers have been misled by the media, “thinking that the bonus was ratified into law and implemented, which is not true.”

Several workers contacted by Ahram Online said that almost 3,000 textile workers in Mahalla El-Kubra, mostly women, staged a strike on Tuesday to demand better pay.

However, Abul Fath said that there was a fewer number of strikers, adding that some workers have been referred to the legal affairs department to be questioned over inciting the strike.

“The [company] referred some of the female strikers to questioning, making us afraid to lose our jobs. This is why we ended the strike, which was completely peaceful,” the worker said.

According to the worker, no settlement has been reached between the strikers and the company’s management, and the workers are still seeking their financial rights.

The company – which falls under the authority of the public sector’s Cotton and Textiles Holding Company – is the largest of its kind in the MENA region with eight factories and employing around 20,000 workers.

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