Strike of Egypt's biggest textile company enters fifth day

Marwa Hussein, Friday 14 Feb 2014

Thousands of workers at Egypt's biggest public sector textile company keep striking asking for all demands to be fulfilled

Mahalla's striking workers (Photo: Ahram)

A strike by thousands of workers at Egypt's biggest public textile company, the Weaving and Textile Company in the Nile Delta city of Mahalla, entered its fifth day on Friday.

The government has said it will pay on Saturday a delayed installment of a yearly bonus, which is one of the demands of the workers.

The striking workers have said, however, that they will continue their strike until their other demands are met.

Kamal El-Fayoumi, a worker and labour rights activist, told Ahram Online that the workers insist that the head of the Holding Company for Weaving and Spinning, Fouad Abdel-Alim, be dismissed. The holding company oversees all public sector textile firms.

Abdel-Alim was the chairman of the Weaving and Textile Company for three years, and was removed from office after workers organised several strikes asking for his dismissal.

At the time, workers accused him of being inefficient and squandering the company’s funds.

However, in May 2012, then-prime minister Kamal Al-Ganzouri named Abdel-Alim head of the holding company. His dismissal has been a recurrent demand of workers.

Abdel-Alim refused to comment on the workers' demands when speaking to Ahram Online earlier this week, other than to say that the delayed bonus will be paid soon.

The workers are also demanding the implementation of a minimum wage of LE 1,200 ($170).

After Mubarak's ouster in 2011, another strike of Mahalla workers ended in victory with the government increasing the workers’ meal allocation from LE 120 to LE 210, as well as creating monthly bonuses of LE 220. The same measures were applied to all textile workers in the public sector after strikes spread.

Mahalla workers began a wave of labour action in 2006, and again in 2008, in one of the most significant challenges facing the Mubarak regime before the 2011 revolution.   


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