An analysis of the recent strike-wave in Egypt which involved tens of thousands of textile workers and a look at the history of labour militancy in the country.
For the last ten years Muhammad ‘Attar, 36, has worked in the finishing department at the gigantic Misr Spinning and Weaving Company complex at Mahalla al-Kubra in the middle of the Nile Delta. He takes home a basic wage of about $30. With profit sharing and incentives, his net pay is about $75 a month.
Street vendors won concessions from municipal and occupation authorities last week when they staged a sit-in, forcing them to reverse an eviction order.
The ICEM reported that a sit-in by street vendors in the southern city of Nasiriya produced a compromise by authorities in negotiations. Street vendors are represented by the Union of Unemployed in Iraq (UUI), part of the Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI).
Around 1,000 teachers have been arrested in Iran following strikes and protests last week.
Iran has clamped down on teachers following strikes of 100,000 last week and a 10,000 strong picket outside parliament. These mass arrests come after six teachers' union leaders were arrested during International Womens Day events.The teachers strike last week was the largest workers' action in recent years, and possibly since the revolution of 1979.
There have been strikes across Israel this week, including at Ashdod Port, the Bank of Israel and numerous schools and universities.
Workers at the Bank of Israel began an indefinite strike on Tuesday, however the strike ended at 3am this morning after a deal was struck between the Bank of Israel Governer and the Ministry of Finance Director of Wages Eli Cohen.
Workers at an electricity plant in Kirkuk were on strike yesterday whilst others protested in Baghdad.
The following report is from the General Federation of Workers in Iraq
On Tuesday 13 March 2007 Workers and Technicians at "Taza Plant 15K" outside Kirkuk conducted a day strike action calling on the local authorities to improve their security from extremist attacks which are killing many workers indiscriminately. The strikers also called on the management of the plant to increase their pay.
The workers of Sheraton hotel, Baghdad, went on strike for two days last week demanding their overdue salaries and other unpaid benefits.
The strike was led by the General union of the tourism and hotels' workers, inside the building of Sheraton hotel - Baghdad.
The demands of the workers focused on paying the overdue salaries and arrear unpaid benefits of the holidays which amount up to 200.000 Iraqi Dinars (equivalent to 140 US$) in addition other arrears.
A report by the Organisation for Women's Liberation - Iran's (OWL) Maryam Kousha on events across the country, which have seen womens' liberation struggles build links with striking workers and Afghan refugees.
People in Iran welcomed 8th March this year by organising many events well ahead of the actual day in different cities all over the country. It culminated in major gatherings on Thursday, international women's day. People were passionate about the day, had prepared manifestos, resolutions and banners demanding equality, condemning gender apartheid and women's oppression.
On Monday 5th March, about 100,000 teachers went on strike. On 8th March 10,000 teachers staged a picket outside the Parliament building in Tehran demanding justice and better wages.
According to the Organisation for Womens' Liberation, "all along the regime has refused to meet their demands. On 8th March (International Women's Day), many students and the women's movement showed their solidarity with the teachers. Many 8th march leaflets were distributed among the demonstrators.
The public sector strike scheduled to begin Wednesday morning has been postponed indefinitely, Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini decided Tuesday after meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
During the meeting, Olmert promised to intervene personally in order to expedite the payment of withheld wages to municipal worker employees and to "personally follow the progression."
The strike was meant to protest a delay in the payment of wages to between 7,000 and 8,000 employees of 40 local authorities and 16 religious councils.
A contemporary document recounting the first ever recorded labour strike, which occured in Deir el Medina, Ancient Egypt during the reign of Ramses III when workers did not receive their rations.
The stoppage occurred in the 12th century BC, on the 21st day of the second month in the 29th year of the reign of the pharaoh Ramses III, while Ramses was fighting a series of wars and engaging in an extensive building campaign.