24 May, 2009

"We want to live"

A couple of hundred workers from the Nile Cotton Ginning Co. gathered outside the People's Assembly in downtown Cairo today, protesting cut's in their salaries that started in November last year and was followed by new cuts last month. The workers have been on strike since April 29. Some of the company's factories in Miniya has been closed, and workers are accusing the Egyptian owner (the company was privatized by the state in the late 90's) of trying to make a quick profit by selling off equipment and land, despite the fact that the company is making profits (workers base this claim on a financial report they say was published on March 31).

"We are victims of privatization," one worker called Mustapha told me. "We are not demanding any raise or anything, just our salaries. We are creating a profit, so where is our rights? We are not going to give up. We want to live!"

Update: More background is provided in a report by Sarah Carr from August last year.

More updates from Twitter: Sarah Carr says: "Nile Cotton worker says that security are trying to break up the protest on the pretext that they are not allowed to stay there overnight," while 3arabawy reports that "police is harassing photographers.i fear they might confiscate my camera."

Latest update from Sarah Carr: Workers forced to break up protest outside PA. Worker told me that Fatma Ramadan was manhandled by the police.

1 comment:

  1. Per, this article provides more background: http://www.thedailynewsegypt.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=15609