03 March, 2009

More labour unrest as economic crisis worsen

Some of the labour actions that have taken place during the last few days, from today's issue of el-Badeel: Workers at two branches of Nile Cotton went on strike, protesting delays in payment of the salaries for februari. At Daytex in Alexandria, workers striked in protest against the continuing refusal of the company to pay last years "labour day bonus." They had been promised to receive it on 1 Mars, but instead discovered that they wouldn't even receive their usual bonuses and allowances on the grounds that the company is making losses. Service taxi drivers in Alexandria also announced a strike in protest against arbitrary fines and abuse by the traffic police. And employees at Atlas Contracting refused to receive their salaries after they discovered the management had deducted 5% from their wages without reason.

Although we can't know for sure, at least three of these protests could be tied to the global economic crisis, that is hitting the Egyptian economy and the textile industry in particular very hard. This point was also made by trade unionist Fatma Ramadan during the discussion organized at the Center for Socialist Studies yesterday. Lay-offs, wage cuts, delayed payments is getting more common, and there is reports about mass dismissals of thousands of workers in the industrial zones - where many are working on temporary contracts or without contracts at all.

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