Egypt: Mahalla workers join rebellion, reject privatisation plans

Pictures from Revolutionary Youth Coalition, Mahalla (via Facebook)

Thousands of workers from the giant textile mill in Mahalla al-Kubra marched out of the factory in a protest in solidarity with the ‘Rebel’ campaign against Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi on 27 June. Carrying a mock coffin draped in posters with the crossed-out face of Morsi and Egyptian flags, the demonstrators marched through the town towards Shoun Square.


Tensions have been rising across the Delta in the run-up to mass protests called the ‘Rebel’ campaign against Morsi on 30 June. The army has deployed tanks and armoured cars across Egypt, including in Mahalla.


On 21 June, a statement signed by the Mahalla workers’ movement denounced the Muslim Brotherhood government and hinted that workers were ready to take over the management of mill if their demands were not met.

Statement by the workers of Misr Spinning, Mahalla

We’ll finish the job and save our citadel from collapse

Workers were the victims of the old regime and the new one.

We are passing through a crucial moment in the history of Egypt’s workers in general, and the workers of Mahalla Spinning in particular. The spinning and weaving industry is facing a diabolical conspiracy from the gang led by ‘Mubarak’ Khairat al-Shater [of the Muslim Brotherhood] and Hassan Malak, under the auspices of Yahya Hamid, Minister of Investment, whose attempts to solve the problems of the textile sector involve spending 80,000 LE pounds on meals for himself and his cronies by stealing the wealth of the Egyptian people, and from the public textile companies in particular.

Fellow workers: our demands haven’t changed!

The Brotherhood gang are just play-acting.

We showed Mr Yahya Hamid, Minister of Investment, and the pupil of Mahmoud Muhyi al-Din, Mubarak’s Investment Minister, proposals for the revival of the company and funding for these plans. Mr Hamid promised to discuss the proposals and to provide us with cotton, but the Brotherhood’s minister couldn’t even be bothered to think about it, and merely stressed that he was following orders ‘from on high’ in the Moqattam Hills [above Cairo]. This is only to be expected from the minister, as the President gives his advice on how to divide and destroy Egypt from up there.

We asked the Minister of Investment and he promised to implement our demands during the month of June. Those who disrespect to the workers’ demands haven’t known their anger – which was the reason for Mubarak’s demise. Now it is the turn of the Brotherhood’s gang!

Our demands are:

  1. Provision of cotton to the company
  2. Immediate implementation of the minimum and maximum wage
  3. Increase the food allowance
  4. Increase the type of work allowance and incorporate it into an increase to the 220 LE monthly bonus
  5. Solve the shift workers’ transport problems and pay a transport allowance
  6. Give workers permanent jobs after 20 years of service
  7. Give qualified women workers in the garment production sections in recognition of their rights.
  8. Dissolve the Holding Company for Spinning and Weaving and return its constituent companies to the public sector under the Ministry of Industry

Fellow men and women workers! Keep your wits about you!

The old regime is wearing a new face, and is running down the company as a prelude to privatisation and to sell us off to the highest bidder, and they did to our colleagues in Shibin al-Kom and Tanta Flax. The proof of this is that the government has failed to take back the privatised companies which the courts ruled should be re-nationalised.

So what now? We have a clear vision for the management of our company and a dedicated staff of engineers, technicians and workers across various departments. We don’t need the current corrupt management and we must strive to put our vision into action.

The Mahalla workers’ movement

21 June 2013

Original Arabic here:

6 thoughts on “Egypt: Mahalla workers join rebellion, reject privatisation plans

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