Thousands of Mahalla textile workers strike to remove CEO

Ahram Online, Sunday 15 Jul 2012

Delta town sees fresh labour unrest as employees of Egypt's largest textile factory demand a greater share of profits and the resignation of senior management

Mahalla workers
Mahalla workers stage demonstration in 2008 (Photo: Hossam El-Hamalawy)

Thousands of textile workers at the state-owned Mahalla Misr Spinning and Weaving company began a strike on Sunday morning, halting production to demand the removal of the company's chairman and upper management.

Workers at Egypt's biggest textile firm's industrial complex in the Delta town of Mahalla El-Kobra are also calling for a greater share of 2011 profits and increases in end of service remunerations. They are also seeking the removal of the chairman of the Spinning and Weaving Holding Company, Fouad Abdel-Alim.

Abdel-Alim was the chairman of the Mahalla Company for three years, and workers stated that he was not efficient, squandering millions of pounds in his time there.

"Fouad Abdel Alil [the chairman] has proven that he is a failure," Abdel Qader El-Dib, an engineer at the industrial complex told Ahram's Arabic-language news website.
 
"He is seventy years old. It's high time that he retires," he added.
 
Company employees currently receive profit shares equivalent to four and a half-months of their labour, not the full year. 
 
When they leave their jobs, workers 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 24,000 people in Mahalla El-Kobra, has seen several strikes over similar demands in the last 18 months.
 
Strikes by Mahalla workers in 2006 and 2008 gained widespread popularity and are believed by many Egyptian activists to have partly set the stage for the country's January 2011 uprising.
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