Workers played a pivotal role in the mass uprising that led to former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s downfall. Now, two years on, the same labour movement that helped topple the Arab dictator is locked in a stalemate with the government and employers over long-denied labour rights and untenable working conditions.
Ahmed Hassanein works in a modern factory in an industrial enclave west of Cairo. He wears a neatly pressed uniform and operates precision calibrated machinery on a line that produces components for foreign-brand passenger vehicles.
The South African Police Service members who were involved in a bloodbath with striking workers at the Marikana mine in North West Province could face murder charges, sources close to the investigation told IPS.
The independent trade unions that have sprung up across Egypt over the last 17 months face an uncertain future, caught between Islamists and the military and operating under labour laws that have not changed since Hosni Mubarak was in power.