Hundreds of workers went on strike on Thursday along the Suez Canal, one of the world’s strategic waterways, joining others across Egypt pressing demands for better wages and conditions. ...
The labor unrest this week at textile mills, pharmaceutical plants, chemical industries, the Cairo airport, the transportation sector and banks has emerged as one of the most powerful dynamics in a country navigating the military-led transition that followed an 18-day popular uprising and the end of Mr. Mubarak’s three decades of rule [#106].
And who does Izvestia interview? A striker, right?:
“For 30 years, there were no protests at all — well, not really — and now that’s all there is,” said Ibrahim Aziz, a merchant in downtown Cairo. “The situation’s a mess.”
In a statement [#4] Thursday, striking workers in Mahalla el-Kobra, the center of the country’s textile industry and a stronghold of labor resistance in the Nile Delta, said that they would no longer take part in a government-controlled labor union but that they would rather join the new Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions [#179], which it said was set up on Jan. 30.
The striking workers at the Suez Canal Authority said their protests in the three major canal cities — Suez, Port Said and Ismailiya — would not interfere with the operations of the canal, which links the Mediterranean with the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. One of the world’s busiest waterways, the canal serves as one of Egypt’s primary sources of revenue and a major transit route for global shipping and oil.
Other strikes were reported at textile plants in the coastal city of Damietta and a pharmaceutical factory in Alexandria, Egypt’s second-largest city. Taken together they are thought to number in the tens of thousands of workers in one of Egypt’s most pronounced episodes of labor unrest. The problems point to a growing challenge for the military and the caretaker government: How to satisfy demands as the economy staggers.
Ah, yes. "The economy." Whose economy?