By Doaa Farid
About 500 workers in the publically-owned Weaving and Textile Company in Mahalla city went on a partial strike on Monday, demanding the payment of their profit-sharing bonus and the functional settlement for workers with educational qualifications.
The workers have threatened to enter a general strike at night if the Holding Company does not respond to their demands.
“The administration of the company didn’t adhere to the deadline of paying our profit bonus which passed a month and half ago,” said Faisal Lacushah, a leading worker at Mahalla Textile Company. He added that this was not a systematic strike as the usual strikes; it was a spontaneous reaction due to delay in payment.
The striking workers also demanded the dismissal of the head of the Holding Company for Weaving and Spinning, Fouad Abdel Alim, as well as Ibrahim Bedir, the head of Mahalla Textile Company.
Lacushah confirmed that the army officers who are guarding the company promised the workers that they will receive their dues within a week. However, the officer added that “it’s not the suitable time for such demands amid the current turmoil,” according to Lacushah.
Echoing that opinion, political activist Ahmed Abdel-Qader said: “This gathering was an extension to a protest from a month ago with the same demands.” He added that the workers had agreed with the military to end the strike after negotiations were complete.
Lacushah said that the company continued working normally on Tuesday.
The Ministry of Finance says it has delayed the payment because of the current turmoil, but the head of the company Ibrahim Bedir promised that it will not take longer than a few days to pay the workers, according to state-owned Al-Ahram Online.
The Centre of Trade Union & Workers’ Services announced their solidarity with the “legitimate” demands of the workers.
Mahalla workers totalling around 22,000 went on strike on 1 August demanding dues from three months of the annual profits. The workers ended their strike after the administration promised to pay them before and after Eid Al-Fitr, which did not happen.
Under Hosni Mubarak’s regime, the Mahalla worker strikes prompted a wave of labour action in 2006, which sparked an unprecedented wave of strikes against the regime.