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Egypt: Mahalla Textile Factory Strike Continues

A strike began Tuesday at the Holding Company for Cotton Spinning and Weaving in Mahalla, Egypt, with thousands of workers gathered outside the factory, requesting the government follow through on its plans to boost the textile industry. The number of protestors since reached more than 10,000.

According to the Middle East Eye, workers are asking that the Prime Minister, Ibrahim Mahlab visit them and keep his promise of investing in the company and refrain from selling any part of it.

At a meeting in Dec. 2014 with the Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade, Mounir Abdel Nour, the Chairman of the Cotton and Textile Industries Holding Company, Chairman of the Egyptian Chamber of Textile Industries and the Chairman of the General Union of Textile Workers, the Prime Minister vowed to make the textile industry a “national project” and continue subsidies despite the heavy losses in the sector.

However, last week, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Adel El-Beltagy shared that the state would not be offering any form of subsidies for cotton farmers or spindles throughout the next season.

Protesting workers felt betrayed by this.

The Mahalla textile facility has experienced much trouble with trade union activity and worker militancy in the past, according to the Middle East Eye. Strikes by the workers at the Mahalla complex, including a walkout in 2006, have been said to have started the movement that eventually led to the 2011 revolution, which overthrew the government and President Hosni Mubarak.

The protestors refuse to end this strike until their demands are met.