05 June, 2009

Crisis continues

The Center for Trade Union and Workers Services released a third monthly report about the effects of the global financial crisis in Egyptian workers. It documents continued layoffs during May, especially in the tourism and textile sector, and warns that some companies are using the crisis as an excuse to cut back on worker's rights, while criticizing the government for not acting to protect the interests of workers.

Meanwhile, the state-controlled General Union for Textile Workers decided to extend the strike at the Tanta Flax and Oils Company for another week. This company was sold to a Saudi investor in 2005, who immediately cut back on a number of worker's benefits. Between 2006 and 2008 three wildcat strikes occured at the factory. After the last one in july 2008 nine workers were fired, including two unionists. Yet it was not untill recently that the state-controlled union decided to invervene - after coming under pressure from increased labour unrest because of the global recession, intensifying attempts to organize independently, as well as criticism from ILO regarding Egypt's violations of internationell labour conventions.

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