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Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Egyptian Opposition April 6 Movement gaining steam.

Egypt has seen a wave of labour strikes in recent weeks by workers in a range of professions from lawyers to truck drivers. Although strikers' specific demands vary, commentators generally attribute the phenomenon to increasingly difficult economic circumstances.

"Recent strikes were called chiefly for economic reasons, not least of which has been the steadily increasing inflation seen in the last two years," Hamdi Abdelazim, economist and former president of the Cairo-based Sadat Academy told IPS.

In mid-February, lorry drivers declared a five-day strike over provisions in a new traffic law banning articulated trailers. Days later, more than 40,000 privately owned pharmacies also staged a strike for several days to protest a government decision to apply taxes to pharmacies retroactively.

Late February and early March saw more workers' actions. Lawyers called a strike protesting proposed legislation in parliament that called for increased court fees, while administrators employed by the ministry of education also declared a strike over unpaid bonuses. Most recently, on Mar. 5, employees at a newly privatised textile factory announced a strike after a dispute over profit-sharing. Education ministry administrators are still awaiting an official response to their demands. More