24 January, 2009

Telemisr and Ericsson: Profit before people

El-Badeel reports on the interrupted Telemisr sit-in: Apparently the governor of Giza intervened and asked the workers for a 10 day respite to hold new negotiations between the management and the local union, while the workers promise to take new action if those negotiations fail. The Daily News also has a report in English, giving some of the background to this conflict. One of the employees is quoted as saying about the owner: “This man doesn’t want to produce anything. He’s a merchant, he wants to buy and sell but doesn’t care about the factory or the employees who spent their lifetime building this place.”

This is the story of the "economic reforms" pushed in Egypt for 30 years now by international institutions like the World Bank and the IMF. But putting profit before people is not unique to Egypt, as this article demonstrates: Swedish telecom giant Ericsson is cutting back its work force with 5000 this year despite huge profits (about 2,4 billion euro) during 2008...

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