Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Textile Strikes Spread

Al-Jazeera reports on spreading strikes in Egypt's textile industry:
"On Wednesday, around 23,000 employees of Misr Spinning and Weaving, Egypt's biggest textile company, took their strike into a fourth day and were joined by some 12,000 workers at other state firms, labour activist Hamdy Hussein said...
"A sprawling complex in the Nile Delta city of Mahalla, Misr Spinning and Weaving was the focus of protests in 2008 that sparked a wave of strikes now widely seen as a catalyst for the street revolt that ended the rule of Hosni Mubarak last year...
"Between 3,000 and 4,000 have staged an open-ended sit-in at the factory to call for a rise in basic wages, a purge of corrupt officials and better conditions at the firm's hospital."
The importance of labor activism in the Arab Spring has been badly underreported in the Western media, even though, as Joel Beinin points out, the rise of a labor movement not under state control has been an important result.  The SCAF, however, has worked to crush new labor activism as part of its general policy of protecting regime interests after having ditched Mubarak.  The Muslim Brotherhood, which has become its major rival in the political arena, is also a bourgeois movement friendly to business interests, in contrast to the rural and working class salafis.  A fear I have is that the Brotherhood will offer cooperation against striking workers as an important part of its potential cohabitation with a constitutionally enshrined SCAF.



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