Workers at the Holding Company for Spinning and Weaving in Mahalla in Gharbeya vowed to continue their strike if demands are not met. They demanded the issuance of the 10% bonus and the return of suspended workers.
Kamal Al-Fayoumi said the workers will continued to stop production until the company agrees to issue the bonus. He added that to date “nine workers were suspended on charges of inciting their fellow workers to strike”. “No one is inciting, we want our rights,” he said.
The bonus is given to workers and employees under the controversial Civil Service Law, which was issued for enforcement to public sector companies in the field of food and metal industry in July.
Al-Fayoumi added that government officials “are only meeting and discussing the plans without any clear promises”.
He commented on disputes between the workers and the engineers in the factory, which lead to a number of workers being referred to investigations. He also added that “the Minister of Investment Ashraf Salman, along other officials, had promised several times that the bonus will be issued but in vain.”
The Holding Company for Spinning and Weaving is one of Egypt’s major industrial infrastructures and is reported to include more than 75,000 workers.
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. This strike is often credited as being one of the major factors leading up to the 25 January Revolution.
However, five years after the 25 January Revolution, strikes in Egypt are usually dispersed by force or by threats of suspension and have acted as a main source of opposition to different governments.