Negotiations fail as strike of Egypt’s Mahalla workers enters day six

Ahram Online , Saturday 15 Feb 2014

Mahalla workers refuse to end a strike they began Monday, insisting that all their demands are met; independent unions declare support for strikers

Mahalla Textile's workers strikers demand dismissal of CEO (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Protesting workers at the Nile Delta based Mahalla Weaving and Textile Company refused calls to end their strike Saturday during a visit from the representative of the Holding Company for Weaving and Spinning.

The workers of Egypt’s largest public textile company have been on strike since Monday, demanding the dismissal of the head of the holding company that oversees all public sector textile firms, in addition to the implementation of the minimum wage of LE1,200 ($172).

They are also demanding the election of a board of directors to supervise the developing process and restructuring of the company.

Speaking to Al-Ahram Arabic news website, Hisham Youness, one of the workers on strike, said the holding company’s general commissioner, Abdel-Fatah Zogba, met with workers Saturday and urged workers to end their strike.

However, the workers got into a dispute with Zogba, affirming that the strike would continue until all of their demands are met.

The meeting was attended by the deputy minister of manpower and the military governor of Gharbiya governorate, within which Mahalla is located.

Meanwhile, a statement was issued on Friday by 34 independent labour unions expressing their solidarity with the striking workers.

The statement accused the government of refusing to implement the minimum and maximum wage promised to workers.

“There is a clear insistence from successive governments to overlook the most basic rights for workers, a minimum wage, or to return the companies that have been robbed and privatised,” added the statement while warning against any attempt to disperse the sit-in.

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

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