Mahalla textile workers to go on strike Monday

Marwa Hussein, Saturday 5 May 2012

Workers of Egypt's biggest textile company will start an open-ended strike Monday, fighting corruption and demanding a greater share of profits

Mahalla textile workers
Mahalla textile workers (Photo: Reuters)

Around 20,000 workers at the Egypt Weaving and Textile Company in Mahalla City, Egypt’s largest public textile factory, have announced they will start an open-ended a strike Monday, 7 May. The company’s workers started a wave of strikes in 2008 that represented at the time an open challenge to the Mubarak regime.

The company’s workers have already presented their demands to a secretary of the prime minister, to the governor of Al-Gharbeya and to the military ruler of Mahalla City, according to Kamal Al-Fayoumi, a worker who became an known figure after playing key roles in strikes staged before Mubarak’s ouster.

“We haven’t presented our demands to the Holding Company for Spinning and Weaving because we have objections to its leadership. It is itself responsible for the deterioration of our company's situation," said Kamal Al-Fayoumi.

The main demands of Mahalla workers is to purge the company of corrupted officials who represent a perpetuation of the Mubarak regime, increasing end of service remuneration to three months for each year of service, and to be paid 12 months profit share equal to employees of the holding company.

“I believe the participation to be wide for the elder and the heads of departments will support an increase of their end of service remuneration, while the young support getting a share of profits,” said Al-Fayoumi, who expects participation to reach 80 per cent.

Misr Spinning and Weaving is the largest plant in the Egyptian textile industry, which employs 48 per cent of the nation's total workforce, according to the Centre for Trade Union and Workers' Services.

Strikes by Mahalla workers in 2006 and in 2008 against ousted president Mubarak’s regime gained widespread popularity and are believed by many activists and analysts in Egypt to have partly set the stage for the outbreak of the January 25 Revolution.

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