17,000 workers strike in Mahalla al-Kubra, Nile Delta, Egypt

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Cleishbotham
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Aug 14 2017 11:16
17,000 workers strike in Mahalla al-Kubra, Nile Delta, Egypt

Hope the link works. http://www.leftcom.org/en/news/2017-08-13/17-000-workers-strike-in-the-t...

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Ed
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Aug 14 2017 12:19

Not all the article is showing up on that page. Finishes for me with "Many believe that the massive..."

Looks really interesting though. You guys want to put it on your libcom blog?

el psy congroo
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Aug 14 2017 13:11

Sam deal viewing the article here.

Not sure if it goes on to mention the Mahalla factory workers are some of the most combative in the world. They had long strikes under Mubarak and were the first workers to strike en masse with the aim of toppling the regime. It was the Egyptian revolution.

The workers are in large (ex-)Nasserists and children of Nasserists. Last I heard, potraits of Nasser still hang on the shop floor.

Here is a documentary on Mahalla, from before the drama of the revolution had mostly subsided:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo1Fytmjlmw

spaceman spiff
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Aug 14 2017 16:34

Well i wouldn't say that these factory workers are "Nasserists". Nasserism is a very vague ideology in Egypt today, unless you simply define people who like Nasser as Nasserists.

The reality is that Nasser just remains very popular in parts of the Arab world because of his industrial, economic, healthcare, and educational reforms. In Egypt he's favoured mostly for these reasons, while it's not unusual to come across portraits of Nasser in other countries in the region, and outside Egypt he is mainly loved for his pro-Palestinian stance and pan-Arabism.

Cleishbotham
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Aug 16 2017 15:45

Ed

Thanks for pointing out the cut off (its posted as a news item and I just discovered there is a word cut off on that) The full article I now posted underneath it in a comment but I will also paste it here. It is based on an article in the leftist Italian paper Il Manifesto.

"In the Mahalla al-Kubra district, where Egypt’s textile industry is concentrated and which has always been amongst the vanguard of Egyptian movements there is an all-out strike. Workers are demanding wage rise to cope with 33% inflation. Workers have promised "We will fight to the bitter end". A victory here could trigger protests across the country

The movement began on Saturday night (August 120 with a partial strike for a few hours, but in the face of the company's inflexibility and the provocations of security guards (who asked workers to denounce the "agitators") the strike was extended to thirty establishments in this industrial hub. According to the Egyptian independent press the strike is 100% solid.

The workers are demanding those annual bonuses, and profit-sharing payments which often end up disappearing from pay slips. In this case, the strike started over a bonus payment that was due in July. After waiting for a month, the strike started, with a much wider list of demands, which add up to a 10% increase in wages.

The company, the Misr Spinning and Weaving Company, has repeatedly attempted to negotiate with the workers but only through the state-owned union, which does not play any role in the strike and often takes the side of the state and the bosses.

Although the company was ready to make concessions, workers have refused to accept any compromise and say they want to continue strike until all their legitimate demands are met. Many believe that the massive strikes of Mahalla in 2006 and 2007 and the long wave of social protests that arose there were the spark for the 2011 Tahrir Square protest.

Mahalla has often been a beacon for a wider movement in the country especially since the economic situation for the working class is dire (it’s not so great for the middle class). The regime could use repression against the workers but this would be more dangerous than repression against Tahrir Square or even the Muslim Brotherhood. But to concede their demands (as the state has done in the past could equally open the floodgates to more demands from the rest of the working class

The words of one striking worker from Mahalla, recorded by the independent platform Yanair Gate: "Once again the revolution will start from us, from Mahalla, as it did the first time. We will not give up our rights whatsoever. We will continue the protest”."

Mark.
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Aug 16 2017 16:37

Report from Mada Masr: https://www.madamasr.com/en/2017/08/15/news/u/thousands-of-workers-at-ma...

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Steven.
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Aug 16 2017 22:33

Yeah as Ed says it would be great if you guys posted that your libcom blog. Think it would be popular!

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Internationalis...
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Aug 17 2017 15:45

Ok done!