Egypt: 10000 Kafr Al-Dawwar Factory Workers On Fresh Strike

10 thousand workers in El-Behera-based Kafr Al-Dawwar Spinning and Weaving factory staged a strike yesterday demanding a pay increase, firing the board director and rescheduling the company debts. Analysts described this strike as the biggest in 12 years.

A worker in the company, 220 km north of the capital cairo, said that:” The workers stopped machines and number of them gathered inside the company”. The source estimated the number of strikers at 10 thousand workers, declaring that the demands were outlined in a bulletin board ate a gate of the company, and it included threatening with a severe reaction in case any worker is arrested.

The source explained that the workers ” demand giving a month and a half bonus over 2007 basic salary, or two months salary over 2006 basic salary for every worker, in addition to increasing monthly incentives for workers ” .

Also, the demands include:” Firing 60-plus years old company leaders, and firing the board director, and that the government pays the accumulated debts on the company, up to L.E1.5bln ($260mln).

The company workers demand receiving a treatment similar to that of the workers of El-Mahalla El-Kubra textile and weaving factory. The workers of the latter company staged a three day strike last December and the government met similar demands .

It is worth mentioning that, over the last few months, Egypt has been gripped by a wave of strikes that have spread from textile mills to hospitals, cement factories, shipyards and municipalities.

The Biggest in 12 Years

Analysts say that the strike the Kafr Al-Dawwar Spinning and Weaving factory is the biggest since 1994.The labour strike in El-Mahalla El-Kubra Spinning and Weaving factory was the most important labor protest movement since the 1989 Iron and Steel Company labour strike in Helwan, south of Cairo.

This comes while Shibin Al Kawm, in the governorate of Monoufia, is witnessing a fifth day of a similar strike amid threats of organizing hunger strike unless their demands are addressed.

Last December witnessed 3 labor sit-ins and strikes in a clear indication on the increasing labor protests that usually end with addressing demands of the strikers.
Also, the workers of both cement factories of Helwan and Torah, south of Cairo, staged an open sit-in protesting at not paying some of their financial dues in early December, and it ended with meeting their demands.

During the same month, two thousand workers in Egyptian railway workshops staged a sit-in protesting at not giving them incentives similar to those of train drivers, leading delaying some trains linking between Cairo and various governorates.
The government has been, years ago, applying an active program for selling state-owned companies to the private sector. Analysts say that:” Some of the privatized companies fired workers, leading to aggravating the problem of unemployment that the government estimates at 10 %, while analysts say that it is up to 25 %.

Egyptian newspapers reported last December 2006 that the government paid some debts of the state-owned companies, and that it paid 9 billions Egyptian pounds ($1.48 bln), including 952 million pounds debts of El-Mahalla El-Kubra- based Misr Spining and Weaving company.

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