“Growing Number of Strikes Underscores Discontent in Egypt”
The Washington Post, April 12, 2014, p.A6
“Strikes staged by thousands of Egyptian workers for higher wages and better working conditions in recent months are setting the stage for a possible confrontation between the impoverished laborers and a new president after elections this spring. The rallies and sit-ins that have crippled the postal service, textile factories and even public hospitals are still fragmented, largely uncoordinated and lack unified demands. But as the cash-strapped government moves to quash labor unrest in places such as Suez, the strikes underscore a social discontent that is still festering among Egypt’s working class and could evolve into a more solid opposition to the military-backed administration. … ‘Businessmen in this country have sucked the blood of the people — and the one who is responsible is Abdel Fatah al-Sissi,’ Ahmed Mahmoud, who heads the Cairo branch of the Independent Union for Public Transport Workers, said of the powerful former defense minister and now presidential hopeful. … Sissi’s allies have included some of the corrupt businessmen and politicians who grew rich under former autocrat Hosni Mubarak. … Both public- and private-sector strikers have so far focused their demands on higher salaries, increased hazard pay and, in some cases, implementation of a national minimum wage.”
Quickie analysis: A good look at an emerging opposition in Egypt.