16,000 Spinning and Weaving workers threaten to escalate strike

Sixteen thousand workers of the Egyptian Spinning and Weaving Company in Gharbiya continued their strike and sit-in inside the company’s headquarters for the sixth day in a row, to protest against what they called the Cabinet and the business sector ministerial committee’s negligence to their demands.

Over 6,000 workers of the Egyptian Spinning and Weaving Company in Mahalla began their own open-ended strike on Monday evening, demanding the 10 percent bonus promised to them by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the parliament, as well as other delayed bonuses over the past months. An additional 10,000 workers joined the protesters on Tuesday.

The workers threatened to take their their sit-ins outside and said that thousands of their families would join them until their demands were met.

A number of labor leaders succeeded in persuading them to postpone this move for several days.

The workers said that they stopped all production machines for three shifts for up to eight hours each, announcing sit-ins next to the machines until their demands are met.

Dozens of the company’s workers tried in the early hours of the morning to transfer their protest to Talaat Harb Square, opposite the headquarters of the company board of directors, to express their outrage to the board’s silence on the crisis.
The company’s security personnel convinced them to back away from the offices.

Sources in the company’s board of directors said that Chairman of the Holding Company for Spinning and Weaving instructed the Commissioner-General of the company to communicate with the workers and to persuade them to abandon their strike and return to work to fulfill the business deals made with investors.

He stressed that continuing the strike may put the board of directors in a dilemma because of financial losses, as a result of penalty conditions set in contracts with investors if the company does not fulfill the contracts on time.

The General Syndicate of Spinning and Weaving leaders negotiated with the Minister of Business Sector, Ashraf al-Sharqawy, and the President of the Holding Company for Cotton, Spinning, and Weaving, Ahmed Mostafa, on Tuesday and agreed to pay each worker a bonus between LE65 to LE130 after they resume work.

The workers refused to end their strike though until their financial dues are accrued, causing total paralysis of the company with 10,000 additional workers joining the strike.

The strike caused daily losses of over LE5 million.

Edited Translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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