An estimated 20,000 workers at the Holding Company for Cotton Spinning and Weaving in Mahalla continued their eight-day-long strike Sunday, demanding late wages, the resignation of company Chairman Abdel-Alim Hassan, and the replacement of the company’s commissioner, Abdel Fattah Al-Zoghby.
The company’s losses are already estimated between EGP 15m and EGP 20m, Al-Zoghby told state-owned MENA.
Workers from Holding Company for Cotton Spinning and Weaving were joined on Sunday by thousands of Kafr Al-Dawar employees, who protested in solidarity with the Mahalla workers. According to the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR), the workers in Kafr Al-Dawar are also demanding the new government-sanctioned minimum wage for workers in state-owned companies.
“We hope that all the members of the media are honest and able to deliver our message to the Egyptian people,” a press release from the Mahalla workers read, adding that the workers “demand justice not only for themselves, but for all workers in Egypt.”
Dalia Mousa, ECESR coordinator for the Mahalla workers, told DNE Sunday that security forces can break up workers’ protests based on a 2012 law issued by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces that bans sit-ins and strikes.
The strike also violates the recently issued Protest Law, signed into action by interim president Adly Mansour, which prohibits gatherings of more than ten people without authorisation from the Ministry of Interior.
The workers’ bonuses for two months total EGP 155m. The new government set the monthly minimum income for public employees at EGP 1,200 a month, while presently there are thousands of workers that earn only EGP 500 a month.
Management of the state-owned textile company promised workers that they would receive their bonuses late Saturday evening, but the workers have yet to receive their promised wages, so the strike continued unabated.
“Our strike will continue in full capacity, until all our demands are met, and we will protect each other,” Mohamed Fathy said on Saturday.
An estimated 20,000 workers are taking part in the ongoing strikes at the Mahalla textile factories.
Mahalla workers staged a crippling strike in 2006 to demand bonuses and better wages, which inspired numerous other strikes by factory workers across the country.
Additional reporting by AbdelHalim H. AbdAllah