Textile Workers Strike Enters 2nd Day At Mahalla In Egypt

Mahalla In EgyptAbout 7,000 workers at the Holding Company for Cotton Spinning and Weaving at Mahalla in Egypt began a strike on January 13, demanding an immediate restructuring of the companyfs leadership. The striking workers also accused the government of abandoning the workers.

Mohamed Assad, one of the strike leaders said that halt to work is not mainly concerned with the financial situation of the workers. The main complaint rather is the “inefficient leadership of the administration”.

He said, “A number of media outlets only focused on the financial demands and ignored the others. Also, security guards at the factory gates are preventing local journalists from entering and covering the strike.”

The holding company, the syndicate, and the government are providing conflicting reports about the exact dates of distributing the profit share, he said. Other demands include cancelling the government’s decision to remove cotton cultivation subsidies, which will “have a negative effect on the process of production,” Mr. Assad said.

Last week, the minister of agriculture and land reclamation, Adel El-Beltagy, announced that the state will not offer any form of subsidies for cotton farmers or spindles during the next season.

“The lack of raw materials is one of the problems facing the company,” Assad said. “Although Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb promised the workers in previous meetings that the government will provide enough supply cotton, the promises were not met,” he added.

In February last year, 13,000 workers began a sit-in demonstration at the factory in Mahalla, demanding promised bonuses and the new government-sanctioned minimum wage.

Mahalla workers had staged a crippling strike in 2006 to demand bonuses and better wages, which inspired numerous other strikes by factory workers across the country.

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