Mahalla workers suspend strike after demands partially met

Workers at Mahalla Misr Spinning and Weaving Company decided late Sunday to suspend an eight-day strike after the company’s board partially responded to their demands.

An official bulletin of the company’s decisions was published and workers are expected to resume work on Tuesday.

The demands included an increase to the yearly bonuses, as well as fixed allowances, changes to the administrative system, ending the service of company doctors above 60 and replacing them with more efficient physicians.

The Tamer Fayez, a labor activist, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that  the workers decided to call off the rest of their demands until a new cabinet is formed, but stressed that they would continue to push their requests forward through negotiating with the administration, and asked to be paid for their tools-down days.

Around 23,000 workers had been striking for almost a week. Their demands include the improvement of the company’s healthcare system and the disbursement of 12 months’ worth of overdue profit-sharing payments, delayed since 1992.

They also want the company purged of corruption, including removing company head Abdel Alim Hassan and restructuring the management.

Mahalla, in the Nile Delta, is a hub for the labor movement and one of the most industrial cities in Egypt. In 2008, during the largest strike the country has ever witnessed, Mahalla’s workers protested soaring prices and low wages.

On 6 and 7 April that year, violent clashes erupted between security forces and protesters who set the now-dissolved National Democratic Party’s headquarters on fire and chanted slogans against then-President Hosni Mubarak.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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