News You Really Need To See: “Growing Number of Strikes Underscores Discontent in Egypt”

“Growing Number of Strikes Underscores Discontent in Egypt”

The Washington Post, April 12, 2014, p.A6

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/from-cairo-to-suez-egypt-workers-defy-government-with-labor-strikes/2014/04/11/674171d0-a713-494d-a76b-b33f5d4bc505_story.html

“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.

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