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Egypt: Workers Protest against Tanta Flax & Oils Company


In 2005 the Tanta Flax & Oils Company was privatized and subsequently bought by Saudi investor Abdellah El-Ka’aky.  In May 2009, workers launched a five-month strike backed by the state-controlled Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions (EFTU).  An agreement was reached but workers went back on strike in December to protest the deteriorating conditions in the factory.  In January the workers brought their protest to Cairo. . . .  “We want the government to rid us of this investor who is fooling us.  Either give us our rights according to what the government and the law say, or provide us with employment and give us our outstanding rights, which he [El-Ka’aky] scammed us and didn’t give to us.”

“A handful of MPs from the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as independents, have visited the workers and expressed solidarity with their demands.  ‘The example of the Tanta Flax Company has proved that the policy of privatization is a failure,’ said Gamal Zahran, leader of the independent bloc in parliament.  ‘I will be filing an urgent parliamentary petition to this effect,’ he added.” — Jano Charbel, “Tanta Flax Workers’ Demo — No End in Sight?”

This video was released by Daily News Egypt on 24 February 2010.  The text above the video is a partial transcript of the video; the text below it is excerpted from an article published in the official Web site of the Muslim Brotherhood on 18 February 2010.  According to Joseph Mayton, “Muslim Brotherhood MP Yousry Bayoumi and ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) MP Ahmed Shobeir traded insults at each other on the Parliament floor before engaging in a physical fight over how to deal with the workers stationed just outside their windows.  Other MPs were forced to pull the men off each other” (“Egypt: Fist Fight Erupts in Parliament over Workers’ Strike,” Bikya Masr, 24 February 2010).  See, also, “A Day of Protests” (Al-Masry Al-Youm, 24 February 2010).

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