Labour Unrest Spreads In Egypt's Textile Sector
Published Wednesday, 18 July 2012 17:33 | Written by Amwal Al Ghad
Strikes brought a swathe of Egypt's state textile industry to a halt on Wednesday, workers and a labour activist said, disrupting production of a key export as the country hovers on the brink of a balance of payments crisis.
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.
Mubarak's overthrow, driven by popular anger at poverty and corruption, raised hopes for better pay and conditions among workers, especially in the textile sector which has suffered from tough competition from private and overseas rivals.
Strikes spread in the weeks after the uprising, helping send the economy into a tailspin from which it has yet to fully recover. The broad labour unrest abated but sporadic strikes continue.