Socialist Worker

Egypt's strike wave spreads

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2238

A strike wave involving thousands of workers is sweeping across Egypt today (Wednesday). An Egyptian activist in Cairo told Socialist Worker that their phone is ringing every ten minutes with new reports of walkouts.

Some of the strikes began yesterday, as huge demonstrations filled the streets of the capital and other cities, including Alexandria and Suez.

Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the symbolic centre of the movement, was filled to bursting point. Many Egyptians are describing Tuesday as the biggest day yet for the revolution.

Here’s just a flavour of the workers’ action:

Railway technicians in Beni Suef struck today. Railway workers in other cities joined them by blocking the tracks. Public transport workers in Cairo have shut down five garages and their action is spreading.

They say no buses in the capital will move tomorrow. Instead, the buses will be used to take drivers to the central station, where they plan to declare in independent union.

Military production factories in Helwan are also hit by strikes, and over 3,000 oil workers in the Suez Canal area have also walked out and are staging protests outside the oil ministry in the Nasr City district of Cairo.

More than 5,000 walked out at the state-owned company Telecoms Egypt. They are demanding a minimum wage for workers and a maximum wage for the bosses.

The Al Nasr Company for Coke and Chemicals in the city of Helwan has been brought to a standstill by a strike of some 4,000 workers.

At the nearby Helwen Silk Factory, some 2,000 have refused to work and are demanding rights and the abolition of the board of directors. The workers, many of whom are women, went on to block the highway.

In the Nile Delta town of Quesna, some 2,000 employees of the Sigma Pharmaceuticals company walked out on strike yesterday morning.

Some 500 print workers have struck at the state-loyal Al-Alhram national newspaper to demand a change of editor and support for the revolution.

More strikes are planned for tomorrow, including in the textile city of Mahalla el-Kubra.

May of the strikes that began yesterday continue today, and are a sign of the deepening the revolutionary process.

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