In light of a possible price hike in essential goods and services threatening Egypt in the wake of the recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan, a wave of strikes broke out last week in 10th of Ramadan industrial city with workers demanding “better wages”.
In the Ceramica Varsina Company around 600 workers staged a strike on Wednesday demanding overdue profit shares from 2014 and 2015. They also demanded “compensation for the price hikes”.
According to the workers, the factory’s management filed a report against the strikers at the 10th Ramadan police station, accusing them of sabotaging the factory and inciting against the members of the management.
The workers say they have the support of member of parliament Sahar Etman and the Labour office.
“The management could easily release a statement to say that they will pay us later, but they could extend that period and then ignore the whole matter,” a worker said.
Another worker said that negotiations have indicated that the company will “give EGP 400 a yearly profit share to each worker and free transportation”. He added that if this is confirmed the workers will seek to document these promises, in the presence of their lawyers, to pressure the lawyers to abide them.
In the Omega Ceramic Company, the workers staged a three-hour strike on Monday, only to be met with promises from the management that they will look into the demands, which includes paying late profit shares as well. The workers said they will strike if the demands are not met.
The wave of strikes has also reached the Sprea Misr for the Production of Chemicals & Plastics Company where around 500 workers did not only call for the enhancement for their economic situations, but also for the resignation of the company’s CEO Moustafa Moustafa.
Moustafa filed a report at a police station accusing the workers of “stopping production”.
Last week Ceramica La Beaute workers also staged a strike against their company’s administration due to delayed compensation and neglected wage increases. The strike was suspended after management intervened and promised a better economic situation.
Between January and April, 493 protests took place, according to a report by Democracy Index. The majority of labour protests were directed against the Civil Service Law and demanded more economic and organisational rights.
However, since July economic changes have been dominating the strikers’ demands, and this is expected to escalate with the possible price increase. Several political groups have highlighted their concerns regarding the IMF loan to Egypt and harsh economic measures recently taken against citizens.
Among the political parties that signed the petition last Sunday are the Popular Alliance Party, the Dignity Party (El Karma) and the Popular Current Movement.
The petition asserted that the only solution to the current economic crisis should be the suspension of the IMF loan and the creation of a new strategy through which the government will increase national industry, suspend the privatisation of firms, and apply social justice policies by lowering the excessive salaries of high-ranking officials in the government.