19 July 2012
Delegates at last November’s Unite the Reistance conference will remember the solidarity message sent by Dr Mohammed Shafiq, president of the Manshiyet al Bakri Hospital Workers Union in Cairo to those striking in Britain on 30 November.
Now a key group of workers in Egypt needs our solidarity.
Workers at the Misr Spinning factory in Mahalla al-Kubra in Egypt began an indefinite strike on 15 July. Around 23,000 workers have joined the strike, with thousands sleeping overnight in the factory.
They are demanding a rise in their bonuses and the sacking of the corrupt manager of the public sector Holding Company for Textiles. They are fighting for the right to work, demanding the resumption of cotton deliveries to the factory after months of short-time working, and investment in the public sector textile industry.
The Mahalla workers’ strike in December 2006 was in many ways the beginning of the Egyptian revolution. It launched a massive wave of strikes which continues to this day.
The Mahalla workers have often taken up wider issues than their own pay and conditions. They led the demonstrations and strikes in 2008 for a rise in the national minimum wage.
Their struggle today is a battle for the whole working class in Egypt – in defence of the public sector and the right to work in the face of austerity measures in Egypt.
The world today is a different place because the Mahalla workers took action in December 2006.
Please rush messages of support to the Mahalla workers via the MENA Solidarity Network.