First Labor Protest Under Sisi
Article by Hisham Fouad
Tanta Flax and Oil Company workers protested yesterday Monday June 23rd in front of the cabinet offices calling for the renationalization of their privatized factory and the return of the sacked workers to work. Workers carried posters saying, “this is not a special-interest protest, these are legitimate demands,” “adhering to court verdict means respect to the law, state, and the constitution,” and “we are not Muslim Brotherhood or liberals, our demands are legitimate.”
Other workers also hung signs on their backs stating, “we want to work,” and chanted for Sisi to intervene in solving their problem.
Gamal Othman, a leading worker activist said,”the government’s policies are the same as they always have been. Only the faces have changed but the policies are just as before. They are still selling off our factory and sacking and victimizing the workers, because they are on the side of businessmen against workers and the poor. Not only did the government not appoint a representative to the company management, but also the public sector holding company [which is officially responsible for the factory] refused the opportunity to make any investment even though the factory has enough resources to operate for one month only.”
*This protest comes after the 1300 Tanta Flax and Oil Company workers won a court ruling in 2012 to return the factory to the public sector since it was privatized in a corrupt sale to a Saudi investor in 2005, but the verdict has yet to be put into action. Yesterday’s protest is just another action Tanta Flax workers have taken on their long road of struggle to achieve what they have been calling for for years.