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Thousands of factory workers go on strike in Egypt protesting poor pay amid soaring food costs

January 31, 2023 at 12:05 pm

Leonie Wiring Systems [LEONI Egypt/Facebook]

Thousands of workers at the Leonie Wiring Systems company in Egypt have gone on strike to protest low wages.

In response, the company’s management has shut down ten factories indefinitely.

Leoni, which is mainly based in the Nasr City area of Cairo, supplies wires, optical fibres and cable systems across the world.

Its workers say their salaries should be raised to meet soaring food prices amid the cost of living crisis.

Egypt’s economy is spiralling with surging inflation, a high debt to GDP ratio and soaring commodity costs, which have left millions struggling to afford food and other economic rights.

One in three Egyptians live below the poverty line, though that figure is from 2020 and so the amount is likely to have grown since due to the pandemic and other economic crises.

Factory workers have demanded that their salaries, incentives, bonuses and allowances be raised and that their health care allowance be expanded.

READ: Egypt’s new IMF deal leaves economic rights of millions unprotected

Staff in Leonie’s Badr and Assiut branches are also standing in solidarity.

One of the striking workers told Mada Masr that staff were told by the management that they would not be raising any of their salaries.

Discontent swelled when the staff received their January pay packets and found that they were lower than what they were expecting.

According to the report in Mada Masr, the trade union committee is not supporting the strike and has said that it is illegal.

Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reports that Muhammed Suleiman, who works for the Public Transport Authority in Cairo, remains forcibly disappeared since his arrest on 20 January.

Muhammed was arrested after taking to social media to criticise the high cost of living and deteriorating economic crisis in Egypt because of the government’s economic policies.

Muhammed was arrested previously in 2016 after calling for a strike at the Public Transport Authority in Egypt to demand an increase in bonuses for drivers.